With the cost-of-living crisis pushing households to the brink, it has been easy to forget that we are still in the midst of a pandemic.
Covid is clearly staging a re-emergence and there can’t be many people who aren’t aware of someone who has been infected in recent weeks.
Certainly, the official statistics bear this out, and our chief scientific adviser has stated clearly we are experiencing another wave of Covid.
While Professor Ian Young is optimistic we are approaching the end of the current wave — if indeed it has not yet already passed — it is impossible to predict with certainty how the virus will behave in the coming months.
If living through this pandemic has taught us anything, it is that Covid can adapt quickly, and apathy can lead to catastrophic consequences for the economy, the education of our young people, and the state of the health service.
So, what will the winter months bring?
As the latest wave has demonstrated, previous infection and vaccination do not always stop further infection, so health officials are working hard to determine the best possible strategy to keep people safe.
According to Dr Alan Stout, chair of the British Medical Association’s GP committee, a further vaccination booster campaign is being planned.
The details have yet to be finalised, and depend very much on the trajectory of the pandemic.
As it stands, those considered vulnerable to the virus and anyone aged over 75 will be asked to come forward for another dose — essentially anyone who currently receives the flu vaccination.
However, the exact timing of the Covid vaccine campaign is not yet known.
It would be ideal if it could be rolled out with the flu vaccine in the autumn, meaning patients could attend one vaccination clinic, making it more likely they will turn up, and also reducing the strain on health professionals delivering the programme.
But case numbers, and the possibility of a different, more virulent strain becoming dominant before then, may force the booster campaign to begin at the end of the summer months instead.
The extent to which previous infection protects against serious illness, as well as waning immunity from the vaccines, will also play an important part in when the booster campaign begins.
The programme could be rolled out to younger age groups if the data suggests it will reduce harm to the public.
The Joint Committee on Vaccination and Immunisation, which makes recommendations on vaccination programmes, is currently examining the latest evidence and statistics before plans for a booster programme can be finalised.
As it stands, the virus is not resulting in severe illness in the vast majority of people, but its impact on the ability of the health service to function is obvious.
Efforts to help the NHS maintain services remain as pertinent now as they did in March 2020.
Covid hasn’t gone away and neither has the likes of flu, which is why Prof Young is encouraging everyone eligible for flu and Covid vaccines in the coming months to come forward.