“You might have read about new Covid variants in the news this week.
The two strains making headlines are called Eris and Pirola.
This is still essentially the same Covid-19 virus which has been circulating since early 2020. But like all viruses, they replicate and adapt to their environment. Small changes happen which we call a variant.
Partly as a result of these new variants we are seeing Covid cases increase in recent weeks.
But it’s important to remember we are also entering the “Back to School” period of the year. When all viruses, coughs, colds and other germs do tend to spread more frequently.
The poor weather in recent weeks has seen many of us stay inside more often that past Summers. And everything we know about Covid tells us that when people are together inside, the virus spreads more easily.
Just like previous Covid strains, common symptoms of these new variants are:
A runny nose
Fatigue (mild or severe)
Thankfully, we as a country are now used to living with Covid-19 and its variants, and the past 3 and a half years have taught us a lot about how to deal with it.
The main development for you to be aware of is the NHS has brought forward its Autumn Flu and COVID autumn vaccine programme to protect those most vulnerable.
Vaccinations are now set to start on 11 September 2023 in England with adult care home residents and those most at risk to receive vaccines first.
The decision means those most at risk from illness - including people in care homes for older people, the clinically vulnerable, those aged 65 and over, health and social care staff, and carers - will be able to access to their next COVID vaccine in September.
The annual flu vaccine will also be made available to these groups at the same time wherever possible, to ensure they are protected ahead of Winter.
England will announce full details of the accelerated roll-out soon, and those who fall into higher-risk groups are being encouraged to take up the jab as soon as they’re invited
to ensure they head into winter with the best protection.”