COVID-19 Response: Autumn and Winter Plan 2021 

This week the Government announced their ‘COVID-19 Response – Autumn and Winter Plan 2021’ setting out plans for autumn and winter 2021/22 in England.  

It includes the Government’s “Plan A” – a comprehensive approach designed to steer the country through autumn and winter 2021/22. It also outlines a Plan B which would only be enacted if the data suggests further measures are necessary to protect the NHS. 

Over autumn and winter, the Government will aim to sustain the progress made and prepare the country for future challenges, while ensuring the National Health Service (NHS) does not come under unsustainable pressure. 

The recently announced booster vaccination programme in England will be one of the ways the government plan to tackle a potential rise in cases this winter. People over 50, care home residents, health and social care workers, and those aged 16 to 49 years with severely weakened immune systems will be offered a third COVID-19 vaccine dose. Vaccinations will begin next week, and the NHS will contact people directly to let them know when it is their turn to get their booster vaccine. 

People aged 12 to 15 in England will also be offered one dose of the Pfizer COVID-19 vaccine. Parental, guardian or carer consent will be sought by vaccination healthcare staff prior to vaccination in line with existing school vaccination programmes. 

The NHS is offering the COVID-19 vaccine to children and young people. This includes those aged 12 to 17 years at increased risk from infection , who will need 2 doses of the vaccine 8 weeks apart. All other young people aged 12 to 17 years will be offered the first dose of the vaccine. The timing of a second dose for these 12- to 17-year-olds will be confirmed later.