Booster and flu jab plea as further 86 Omicron cases confirmed

People in Suffolk and north Essex can now get their Covid vaccine booster

There were 86 confirmed cases of the Omicron variant in the UK on Sunday. - Credit: PA

A further 86 cases have been confirmed of the emerging Omicron variant in the UK as health bosses make further pleas to take up flu and booster vaccines. 

Over the weekend, the government announced all travellers arriving in England will be required to take a Covid-19 pre-departure test from Tuesday – while Nigeria is being added to the Government’s travel red list.

Altogether there have been 246 confirmed Omicron cases in the UK. No cases of the variant have been confirmed in Suffolk.

Stuart Keeble, director of Public Health at Suffolk County Council said: "With lower case numbers, we are in a stronger position than the reality we faced over a month ago.

"This means that we can end our time as an Enhanced Response Area. However, there will inevitably be community transmission of Omicron in Suffolk. 

“We shouldn’t panic. Viruses mutate and we will face more in the future. We know what to do - get fully vaccinated as soon as possible. That includes your booster jab when you get invited.”

In a further push to reduce people falling ill, the UK Health Security Agency (UKHSA) has urged all those eligible to take up their flu vaccine. 

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Dr Conall Watson, UKHSA consultant epidemiologist, said: “The threat of flu has not gone away – it can cause serious illness and be fatal. Flu vaccination saves lives. If you are eligible, you don’t have to wait to be called up - book your flu vaccine as soon as possible to help protect yourself and family this Christmas.”

More than three quarters of over 65s have had their flu jab, but UKHSA said this figure was less than half for those with underlying health conditions eligible for the jab. 

Sajid Javid, health and social care secretary, said: “Getting your winter vaccines – whether that is your flu jab if eligible or your booster jab -  is one of the most important things people can do for yourself and your family this winter."

Eligible adults can book their free NHS flu vaccination at their GP practice or local pharmacy.

Mums-to-be can also get the jab at their maternity service.  Children are offered a quick and painless nasal flu spray. Parents can book an appointment at their child’s GP surgery for two and three year olds. Schoolchildren receive their flu vaccine at school, parents should look out for the consent form.