NHS England’s chief executive has said he hopes that Covid and flu vaccines could be ‘combined into a single vaccine’ by next winter.
Sir Simon Stevens made the comments at a parliamentary hearing on the vaccine programme yesterday in response to a question on what ‘opportunistic interventions’ can be done while patients are attending for vaccinations.
Conservative MP for Bosworth Dr Luke Evans, who is also a GP, asked Sir Simon ‘what plans are set in place to get opportunistic public health interventions like stopping smoking [and] obesity into those big centres’.
This could be ‘the one time’ the NHS is able to reach people it ‘has never been able to have contact with’, Dr Evans said.
Speaking as a witness, Sir Simon said he would put the suggestion to his colleagues but that ‘GPs locally are already taking this opportunity’.
He added: ‘Frankly, down the line, I would hope that not only other opportunistic contact [takes place] as you described, but it would be great if Covid vaccine and flu vaccine ends up being combined into a single vaccine, which we might see for if not this winter then future winters as well.’
Previously, PHE said while coronavirus jabs should ‘ideally’ be separated from other non-Covid vaccinations such as flu by seven days, vaccination can still be ‘considered’ within a shorter time period.
The suggestion to combine Covid and flu jabs comes as under-65s with health conditions were last month urged to present for flu jabs as half remained unvaccinated.