15 July 2021
Today, the Academy of Medical Sciences has released a new report 'COVID-19: Preparing for the future. Looking ahead to winter 2021/22 and beyond' which examines the challenges to health and to the UK's healthcare infrastructure as we head into winter 2021/22 with SARS-CoV-2 still circulating. The report also identifies key priorities for actions that need to be taken now to mitigate ongoing challenges. In response, the British Society for Immunology has released the following statement.
Dr Doug Brown, Chief Executive of the British Society for Immunology, said:
“The last 18 months of the pandemic have been extremely difficult for us all but we must remember that we are not out of the woods yet. This comprehensive report from the Academy of Medical Sciences paints a concerning picture for the upcoming winter. An immediate and continued focus on research, healthcare and public health provision is needed to minimise the serious risks that our country faces as we head into the winter season.
“To maximise the effectiveness of the COVID vaccination programme and minimise health inequalities, we need to ensure very high uptake in all sectors of society. This means redoubling efforts to reach out to communities with lower vaccination rates to engage with them to understand their concerns and answer their questions as well as providing accessible vaccination services for all. Boosting local public health capacity to build long-term resilience into the system is a key tool needed to make this local approach a success. This same impetus needs to be given to the rollout of the winter flu vaccination campaign, which will require significant resources and the success of which will be critical to ensuring the most vulnerable are protected.
“It’s obvious that action is needed now to mitigate these serious risks ahead of winter. However, a longer-term focus is also important to tackle evolving health challenges such as viral variants and the number of people affected by long COVID. Scientific research has delivered us a way out of this pandemic through the development of effective vaccines but it’s crucial that significant investment in COVID research continues so that we can minimise loss of life and improve people’s health.”
You can find information on the Academy of Medical Sciences' report 'COVID-19: Preparing for the future. Looking ahead to winter 2021/22 and beyond' via their website. The full report is available to download as is a public summary and a 'People's perspective' report which summarises the discussions of their Patient and Carer Reference Group.