Physios and paramedics will be trained to deliver flu and Covid-19 jabs

Physios and paramedics will be trained to deliver flu and Covid-19 jabs to help the NHS carry out its mass vaccination programme through the winter.

Currently, only doctors, pharmacists and some nurses are legally allowed to administer vaccines in the UK.

But new laws passed today grant more health workers - including midwives and even medical students - to be able to inoculate members of the public.

They will be put through 'robust training' according to the Government, which it says will 'save thousands of lives by increasing access to vaccines against killer diseases'.

Health chiefs plan to vaccinate a record number of people against the flu this year so hospitals can focus primarily on Covid-19 patients.

And there's a slim chance a Covid-19 vaccine could be ready by Christmas - although it's looking more like early next year - which will mean vaccinating millions more people at the same time. 

Physios and paramedics will be trained to deliver flu and Covid-19 jabs to help the NHS carry out its mass vaccination programme through the winter (file)

Physios and paramedics will be trained to deliver flu and Covid-19 jabs to help the NHS carry out its mass vaccination programme through the winter (file) 

A Government spokesperson said: 'We will be able to increase the number of fully trained and experienced healthcare professionals to administer Covid-19 and flu vaccines under NHS and local authority occupational health schemes, as well as enable an expanded workforce that can administer these vaccinations to the public. 

'This will make it easier and quicker for patients and healthcare workers to access the vaccines they need, protecting them against fatal diseases.

'Our planning will ensure this does not affect other services in hospitals and in GP and community services, by drawing on a pool of experienced NHS professionals through the NHS Bring Back Scheme.

'This will ensure we can provide a safe and effective vaccination programme while continuing to offer timely access to other NHS services.' 

This year in England, Wales and Northern Ireland, the flu jab will be offered to the over-50s for the first time. In Scotland, it's being given to the over-55s.

But these groups will only be given access after the vulnerable groups - which include over-65s, pregnant women, and people with conditions like lung disease or diabetes.

Last winter 25million people in England were offered the flu jab, with officials expanding the annual vaccination programme to include all Year Six children for the first time.

All over-65s, pregnant women, NHS workers and people with serious long-term illnesses such as heart disease and Parkinson's are also eligible for the free jab.

More Covid-19 vaccine hopes as scientists say experimental Chinese jab is safe and produces an immune response 

Hopes of getting a Covid-19 vaccine were boosted again today after an experimental Chinese jab was found to be safe and produce an immune response. 

Every volunteer given a double-dose of state-owned firm Sinopharm's vaccine made antibodies against SARS-CoV-2, the coronavirus that causes Covid-19. 

In theory, this would protect them from catching the virus again in the future, or at least protect them from developing a severe bout of the disease. But this has not been proven by the scientists yet — they only injected fewer than 1,000 participants.

Ministers repeatedly insisted Britain could start to use a Covid-19 jab by September — but the Government has still yet to approve any vaccine because of a lack of data that they work.

 The results of the first two phases of clinical trials of Sinopharm's vaccine, published in The Lancet, come after experts released promising results of another candidate jab made by Pfizer and its German partner.

A vaccine is considered key to ending the Covid-19 pandemic because it ensures a person will not catch the coronavirus. 

All hopes are being pinned on finding one proven to work, but until then, measures such as social distancing have to be used to prevent the virus spreading. 

More than 600 healthy adults were given Sinopharm's jab, dubbed BBIBP, and none suffered an adverse reaction. 

The most common side effect, reported by a quarter of volunteers, was pain at the point the needle was injected — which is common for any jab.

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Figures show there are around 10million people aged between 50 and 65 in the UK, meaning the vaccination scheme has had to increase dramatically in size to catch all of them.   

There have already been some logistical hiccups in trying to roll-out the huge flu vaccination programme, with high street pharmacist Boots having to limit its stocks for the most vulnerable already.

The arrival of a Covid-19 vaccine this winter could put even more strain on the supply chain. 

Health Secretary Matt Hancock said: 'The NHS has

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