Health Secretary Sajid Javid said a ‘Plan B’ could be implemented over the coming months if the NHS is faced with “unsustainable” pressure and refused to rule out another lockdown.
The current ‘Plan A’ for managing Covid-19 over the winter relies on a booster vaccination campaign, with all over 50s, those in care homes and frontline health and social care workers all to be offered a third dose.
It is hoped that the booster jabs will ensure the most vulnerable have maximum protection against coronavirus in the colder months when seasonal viruses are more rife.
New figures from Public Health England and Cambridge University estimate that the Covid-19 vaccines have directly averted around 230,800 hospital admissions in England alone.
Some 178,900 admissions have been prevented among those aged 65 years and over, with a further 51,900 among people aged 45 to 64, according to data up to 5 September.
However, there are concerns that hospitalisations may start to rapidly rise as winter approaches, with the government’s scientific advisors warning numbers could increase from a few hundred to more than 6,000 per day within months.
Listed are the areas of England which currently have the most patients in hospital with Covid-19, based on the latest data from NHS England up to 14 September. Images are for illustrative purposes only.