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Coronavirus (COVID-19) epidemic weekly update for Malvern Seniors

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3rd July 2022


Monkeypox virus alert

Polio found in London sewage


For more than two years we have been keeping an eye on the published government figures and monitoring the media to asses the likely level of risk for Seniors in the Malvern Hills district and providing links to where further information could be found.

During the epidemic Public Health England was split into the UK Health Security Agency and Office for Health Improvements and Disparities. However for simplicity, in this blog, we have continued to refer to this as PHE data.

Testing is being run down and the public can no longer record the result of Lateral Flow tests so the daily cases reported on the Coronavirus Dashboard grossly underestimate the actual situation.

The only sources of data indicating direction of travel are now:

  • The ONS infection survey

  • Registered deaths (ONS, NHS)

  • NHS hospital bed occupancy, and

  • The Zoe Health Study

Now the epidemic is all but over the numbers are of less importance, but we'll carry on with our blog for a while longer. This page will continue to be updated each weekend using Friday's data, nominally with Sunday's date.



How to get vaccinated

More about vaccinations

Number of cases

Number of deaths

Healthcare numbers

Forecast for the week ahead

Longer term outlook

Advice for seniors


Further information:

How to request a COVID test

About the Zoe Health Study

About the NHS contact tracing app

About the NHS COVID pass

Summary of links

Menu of archived pages


Increasingly people are being infected, and we are on the upside of the third wave of COVID-19 this year.

Cases and hospital admissions rose by roughly 30% last week and could continue rising for a week or two more. Hopefully a peak will then be reached and numbers begin to subside.

During July there will be increasing pressure on the NHS which could delay treatments, extend waiting lists and increase ambulance response times.

Because of the vaccines, the number of patients on ventilators and deaths are only about 4% of that during the worst of the epidemic. There is therefore  little cause for concern.

It's possible COVID (ONS) weekly deaths in England and Wales could creep up towards 600 in the next 3 weeks reflecting 'baked in' and rising hospital admissions.

We are all likely catch the latest COVID variant BA.5 despite being fully vaccinated; infections more than 3 months ago provide little natural immunity.

Some may either show few symptoms or have a mild fever, sore throat, general aches and pains, and quickly get over it. Others could feel quite poorly and spend a few days in bed, with it taking five to ten days or so to recover.

Many people who have caught COVID report getting easily tired for some weeks afterwards.

However, except for very frail elderly patients, the clinically vulnerable and unlucky we are unlikely to be hospitalised.

The precautions to take are now a personal decision; see our advice.

We'll just have to wait and see what happens next; the expected dip in COVID cases during the summer now looks unlikely - the bottom line is the vaccines designed to protect from the original Wuhan virus don't work as well for the Omicron BA.5 variant and we may soon need an annual jab targeted on the latest variants, as happens with Influenza.

To counter vaccine waning and reduce the likelyhood of hospitalisation amongst the most vulnerable, a second COVID-19 booster jab is available to Seniors aged 75+ years known as the Spring Booster. UKHSA recommends everyone eligible should get it, and most have.

Some surgeries are offering the Spring Booster, but if not you can get it at the Three Counties Showground vaccination centre (use brown gate).

Click for information about Walk-In Clinics

Click for information about the Spring Booster

Click to view our advice

Click for Worcestershire Dashboard and associated links

There may be an Autumn booster programme for those aged 65+ years.

Monkeypox virus alert

Outbreaks of Monkeypox have been detected in Europe and the UK. It's a serious and now a notifiable disease. Click below for European Centre for Disease Prevention and Control factsheet:-

Factsheet for health professionals on Monkeypox

As of Thursday 30 June, there have been 1,235 confirmed cases in the UK.

This compares to 793 cases on 20th June, an increase of about 44 cases per day.

The overwhelming majority of cases are said to be in men who have sex with men .

Click link: Monkeypox cases confirmed in England - latest UKHSA update

The good news for Seniors is that vaccination for Smallpox, which we mostly had as children, should give protection from Monkeypox.


Polio is caused by a virus that spreads easily when an infected person coughs or sneezes. It can also be caught from food or water that's been in contact with the stools of someone who has the virus. Most Seniors will have been vaccinated against Polio.

Click for government press release - Poliovirus detected in sewage from North and East London

How to get vaccinated for COVID-19 (unchanged)

Note: by now we expect most Seniors are fully vaccinated and if so you can skip this section.

Children aged 5 - 11 years can be offered the vaccine, though only 10% or so have had a first dose in England. This may be because either they have been recently infected or their parents are not keen.

All those aged 16+ years can book a booster 3 months after their second dose.

Click NHS link - Who can get a coronavirus (COVID-19) vaccine

For information about walk-in centres in Worcestershire go to the website:


and click the Vaccine Rollout tab at the top of the page.

Click for information about vaccination at the Three Counties Showground

Otherwise either see the NHS website for walk-in opening times and vaccine availability:


Or click this link for more information and to book a vaccination on-line:

Book a Coronavirus vaccination - NHS (www.nhs.uk)

Or talk to your GP.

More about vaccinations


 Our bar chart below shows the total number of:

  1. first jabs;

  2. second jabs;

  3. booster and third jabs;

  4. for comparison, the population of the UK broken down by age band.


COVID vaccination bar chart

Vaccinometer as of 8th April 2022

People are still coming forward to be vaccinated, but the rate is so slow expect to see little change to this chart during 2022.

The vaccination story is mixed. Vaccines protected the majority of the population from the Delta variant. We were then told 3 doses would be necessary to protect from the original Omicron variant, yet only 60% of the population has had 3 jabs, and this protection has been waning.

Fortunately, vaccination amongst Seniors is pretty good and most have had the Spring Booster to top up their protection.

Amongst the population as a whole, the build up of natural immunity following infection could become the nation's chief protection, in the absence of improved vaccines.

Vaccination statistics are now of little relevance but can be found on the Vaccination tab of the Coronavirus Dashboard.

First booster jabs

The government says everyone aged 18+ years has been offered a (first)booster jab. To date about 50M have had two doses, and 40M booster doses have been administered, suggesting 10M still to boost in the UK; but those under 16 years are not yet eligible so there are probably 6M or so still to get a first booster. A booster was essential to protect Seniors from the original Omicron variant and hospitalisation.

Spring booster jabs for Seniors

Those aged 75+ are eligible for a second (Spring) booster which ideally should be 6 months after the first booster.

If you have COVID you must wait at least 28 days after infection before getting the jab.

You should be contacted by the NHS and invited to book your spring booster when it's due - our invitation came by email followed a week later by a letter. Try to book an appointment around 6 months after your last dose to get the best protection from your Spring Booster (check the date on your vaccination card).

New Court Surgery is currently not offering Spring Boosters so you may have to book your booster at a mass vaccination centre, such as the Three Counties Showground, either on-line or by phoning 119.

There are also walk-in appointments at the Three Counties Showground (see links in 'how to get vaccinated section' for days and times). Clinics may be suspended during large events.

Click to book a Coronavirus vaccination - NHS (www.nhs.uk)

Click for NHS England COVID-19 Vaccination statistics

Protection against hospitalisation

After 3 months the Wuhan vaccines seem to give little protection from catching the Omicron variants of COVID-19 but importantly they are said to protect from going on to develop severe illness.

The UKHSA COVID-19 vaccine surveillance reports indicate the effectiveness of the vaccines against earlier variants - four months or so after a third dose vaccine effectiveness against hospitalisation fell to about 80%, suggesting Seniors had been roughly 5 times less likely to go into hospital compared to an unvaccinated person.

Note: there has been insufficient time to gather reliable data on the Spring Booster and the latest variants BA.4 and BA.5, so for example, the protection offered against hospitalisation by BA.5 after a Spring booster is largely unknown.

Effectiveness against mortality

After a Booster the relative risk of death seems to be reduced by a factor of between 5 and 10.

Most people who die are aged 85+ years and most are fully vaccinated; this simply reflects that most of those who die are elderly, most of the elderly population is vaccinated, and the vaccines are not 100% effective.

Here is a link to the latest report so you can make up your own mind about the effectiveness of the vaccines.

Click for UKHSA COVID-19 vaccine surveillance report Week 24, 16th June 2022

Note: the next report will be in a months time, on 7th July 2022.

Vaccinations Worldwide

A chart of the worldwide vaccination situation can be found on the Our World in Data website.

Click for worldwide statistics

Hint: click the country list on the left hand side of the screen to add or remove countries from the chart.

Orange triangleNumber of cases

There are now three sources reporting the prevalence of COVID-19 in the UK.

  • The ONS which conducts a weekly random survey by collecting nose and throat swabs from the public for PCR tests, and analysis for variants.

  • The ZOE Health Study, whereby participating members of the public log their symptoms, tests and vaccines.

  • PHE data gathered from PCR testing and NHS registered Lateral Flow Tests which underestimate infections by a factor of 6 or so.

ONS infection survey

ONS estimate that 1,829,100 people in England had COVID-19 in the week ending 24th June 2022; 34% more than last week.

Click for Coronavirus (COVID-19) Infection Survey, UK: 1st July 2022

Date published Prevalence (England) Ratio of people with COVID
24th June 2022 1,360,600 1:40
1st July 2022 1,829,100 1:30

Prevalence of COVID-19 in England estimated by ONS

There is even more COVID in Scotland where 1:18 are infected.

Zoe Health Study

The ZOE Health Study figures are shown in the following table.

  Prevalence (UK) Estimated new infections per day
Last week 2,652,547 241,935
This week
 3,365,483 296,168

Prevalence of COVID-19 in UK estimated by Zoe Health Study

According to the more up to date Zoe figures, prevalence in the UK has gone up by 27% and daily cases by 22%.

The increase in prevalence is likely due to a multitude of super-spreader events, holiday travel, and the vaccines providing less protection against the latest BA.5 variant.

Numbers testing COVID positive in Worcestershire (PHE)

Note: section deleted due to COVID testing being run down in the UK; figures can still be found on the Worcestershire Coronavirus dashboard - but these greatly underestimate the true number of infections. The direction of travel in Malvern is up.

Click for Worcestershire Coronavirus Dashboard

Directional arrowNumber of deaths

Statistics on COVID deaths are published by Public Health England, The Office of National Statistics, and NHS England. These can't be directly compared as  they cover different periods, but together the figures paint a picture of the direction of travel - which is that COVID weekly deaths are rising slightly as a consequence of the new wave of the BA.5 variant.

PHE figures

The Dashboard chart of COVID (28) deaths, following a positive test, by date of death shows that the 7 day average peaked in England at 240 deaths per day about 10th April; and fell to a minimum of 40 about 10th June. By 23rd June deaths had risen slightly to 58 per day.

This is the most up to date indicator suggesting the death rate will increase further, in proportion to increasing hospital admissions.

Click to view the UK government Coronavirus Dashboard

ONS figures

The Office of National Statistics (ONS) reports registered deaths in England and Wales where COVID-19 is mentioned somewhere on the death certificate. The ONS figures lag the PHE figures by 10 - 14 days and do not include Northern Ireland and Scotland.

Note: the figures include cases where COVID may have been a secondary cause of death.

Click for national ONS data on deaths (Excel spreadsheet)

The ONS figures are broken down by District providing a glimpse of where deaths are occurring. The provisional cumulative total of COVID related deaths in Worcestershire reported by the ONS up to 17th June (week 24 of 2022) is shown below.

Note: the numbers are from summation of rows 9 to 339 of the ONS Death Registrations-Pivot table, which gives the provisional total of deaths reported in any week, which can be distorted by delayed reporting over public holidays.

Deaths by 'date of death' is a more accurate metric but takes longer to be confirmed.

Districts of
Week 24 Population
Bromsgrove 164 142 40 0 98,529
Malvern Hills 61 98 47 0 77,545
Redditch 108 109 28 0 85,317
Worcester 87 134 30 0 103,542
Wychavon 157 154 52 1 126,240
Wyre Forest 171 132 40 0 100,957
TOTAL 748 769 237 1 592,130

Provisional cumulative COVID-19 deaths in Worcestershire registered by ONS to 17th June 2022

The good news is that there are next to no deaths in the Malvern Hills at the moment.

In England and Wales 262 COVID-19 related deaths were reported in the week to 17th June, 21 less than the week before and a fall of 7%. Of these 42 were in a care home, 27 at home, 6 in a hospice, 187 in hospital and none elsewhere.

Note: delayed reporting over the Jubilee holiday probably exaggerated the previous weeks figures, which may have been nearer 210 deaths; in which case the weekly death rate could actually have risen by 52 that is 24%.

Chart of ONS deaths

ONS provisional deaths 'by week reported' in England and Wales 2022

Note: the steps in the chart above were probably due to delayed reporting over the Easter, Mayday and Jubilee holidays; the grey blobs indicate a smoothed curve.

The figures on the Coronavirus Dashboard of ONS deaths by date on the death certificate shows ONS England deaths peaked at 160 deaths per day on 8th April and by 3rd June had fallen to 28 (seven day average).

In comparison averaged over recent years 1,700 people die daily from all causes in the UK, so COVID deaths in England now represent less than 2% of UK deaths.

Click for ONS Coronavirus (COVID-19) latest insights: Deaths

NHS England figures for Worcestershire

The table below shows the latest COVID deaths in Worcestershire hospitals reported by NHS England on 30th June 2022. Because the numbers are small they tend to fluctuate week to week.

Worcestershire Cumulative deaths Past week
Acute hospitals 1,098 4
Care hospitals 74 0
TOTAL 1,172 4

Excludes deaths in care homes, deaths at home and deaths in hospices.

Click for NHS COVID-19 total announced deaths

Look for COVID Total announced deaths file, then select tab Deaths by Trust.

Note: NHS say all deaths are recorded against the date of death rather than the date the deaths were announced. As from 1st July 2022 reporting has moved to publication once per week on a Thursday, rather than every weekday.

Risk of COVID-19 death by age band (unchanged)

NHS England provides an analysis of COVID-19 deaths in hospital in England and Wales by age band. Shown below is a snapshot of 8,378 recent deaths for the period 7th January 2022 to 19th March 2022 when most of these deaths will have been from the Omicron variant.

Age band Number of COVID deaths % of deaths
0 - 19 19 0.2
20 - 39 81 1.0
40 - 59 557 6.7
60 - 79 2,804 33.5
80+ 4,916 58.6

Relative risk of COVID-19 death by age band

The main point to note is those aged 60+ account for 92% of deaths despite young people being more likely to catch COVID.

The risk profile for Omicron appears to be the same as for Delta. Age is the greatest risk factor but remember that because of vaccination the death rate as a proportion of new infections is about ten times lower than in 2020.

triangleHealthcare numbers

The UK government Coronavirus Dashboard includes information about healthcare statistics and NHS bed occupancy.

Hospital COVID cases (England) Number Change in last week
Patients currently in hospital 9,389 +2,637
Patients on ventilation 219 +54
Patients admitted daily 1,290 +328

Headline summary of patients in hospital reported on 1st July 2022

The main point to note is that while hospitalisations have risen steeply the number of patients on ventilators is relatively small.

The majority of those admitted to hospital with COVID are said to be aged over 85 years.

Roughly half are being treated for COVID, and the remainder being treated with COVID.

Bed numbers by region in England

Tabulated figures for COVID bed occupancy in England can be found on the NHS England website and are another indicator of direction of travel:

Click for NHS England COVID-19 Hospital bed Activity statistics

Note: see the latest Daily Admissions and Beds spreadsheets, then look for all COVID beds.

Region 24th June 2022 1st July 2022 15th January 2021
England 6,752 9,389 33,362
London 1,301 1,638 7,811
Midlands 1,214 1,741 5,890

Comparison of All beds COVID data for England, London and Midlands

In the last week the number of COVID-19 General and Acute beds rose steeply; by 39% in England, 26% in London and 43% in the Midlands.

For comparison, the number of beds occupied during the peak of the epidemic in January 2021 is shown in red in the right hand column of the table.

Green triangleWorcestershire hospital beds

Between 20 June 2022 and 26 June 2022, 86 patients went into hospital with coronavirus. This shows an increase of 72% compared to the previous 7 days. There were 81 patients in hospital with coronavirus on 28 June 2022 compared to 57 the week before, of which 3 are now on a ventilator.

Click for Summary of Malvern numbers on the Coronavirus dashboard

This link also reports deaths.

Deaths in Malvern Hills

Between 20 June 2022 and 26 June 2022, there have been 0 deaths within 28 days of a positive coronavirus test. This shows no change compared to the previous 7 days.

Forecast for the week ahead

The number of COVID related deaths in England and Wales (as registered by ONS) may increase by about 330  in Week 25 ending 24th June, to be reported on 5th July.

In the county of Worcestershire, based on 86 new hospital cases last week and assuming the ratio of deaths to be 1:11 of admissions, then up to 8 deaths per week can be expected in the second half of July.

NHS COVID bed occupancy in England reached a minimum of 3,800 in early June and has risen by 147% to 9,389 in the last 4 weeks. A further increase in bed occupancy seems inevitable as daily hospital admissions in England rise as a consequence of the new wave of Omicron BA.5.

Longer term outlook

We are supposed to have entered the endemic stage of the disease with a high background level of infection, falling in the summer as more time is spent outdoors, and then rising  in  the winter.

This will be modulated by new variants against which the vaccines might offer less protection, vaccines waning in effectiveness, booster shots, overseas travel during school holidays, and super-spreader events such as summer music festivals, so it's impossible to predict exactly what will happen.

We are already in early summer and instead of cases falling they are rising steeply. Cases may dip a little in August and September before rising again in October/November.

The Omicron BA.1 variant became predominant in the New Year, followed by BA.2 and now BA.5 causing 3 waves of cases so far this year; possibly more to come as new variants evolve.

 About 4% of those infected will suffer from symptoms of Long COVID. Long COVID caused by previous variants, such as Delta, could be extremely debilitating, but most cases attributable to Omicron are said to resolve in between 4 and 12 weeks.

While ONS deaths have reached a plateau of about 200 per week, the new wave of cases is resulting in steeply rising hospital admissions. This could cause the death rate to rise proportionally towards 600 COVID deaths per week in England in 3 to 4 weeks time.

What happens beyond that will depend on the amplitude and duration of the BA.5 wave; a similar wave peaked in Portugal in May and is showing signs of subsiding so hopefully there is not a great deal to be concerned about.

A further peak in cases is possible in October/November 2022 when a UCL projection suggests deaths could rise to 200 per day before falling back to about 80 per day during the remainder of the winter.

Click for UCL Long-term forecasting of the COVID-19 epidemic

A potentially compounding factor  is that cases of Influenza A are beginning to rise in Australia, which points to the possibility of a significant outbreak of Influenza in the UK in the winter. Because of lockdowns there hasn't been much Influenza for two years and the immunity of the population may have dipped. Catching Influenza and COVID at the same time could be bad news so don't forget to get your Flu jab in September/October.

Click for NHS Guidance - National flu immunisation programme 2022 to 2023 letter updated 22 April 2022

For the time being, providing COVID deaths remain below 100 per day, it seems unlikely the public and government will be concerned.

Advice for SeniorsCOVID risk medium

The risk of exposure to COVID-19 has returned to HIGH in the UK and many European countries.

See our riskometer opposite.

During this period of high prevalence, it is likely that, despite being fully vaccinated, many Seniors will at some time or other become ill with the Omicron BA.5 variant of COVID-19.

How this affects us will depend on any previous exposure to the virus possibly giving some natural immunity, and vaccination status.

Those most at risk are said to include:

  •  Seniors aged 75+ years who have not been fully vaccinated;

  • Seniors aged 75+ whose first booster is now waning;

  • Pregnant women who have not been vaccinated.

In the last month there have been no more than 10 COVID related deaths per week in Worcestershire which has a population of 600,000 so we currently estimate the risk of death for fully vaccinated Seniors to be less than 1% per year which we judge LOW while the risk of Long COVID is a little higher.

Currently the chance of Seniors being hospitalised with COVID-19 in any period of 12 months is less than 4% which we judge moderately LOW.

Most people are now taking the view that COVID is no longer a critical threat to their health.

For the more cautious the simple safeguards to remember are to:

  • make sure your COVID vaccinations are fully up to date - you must have a Booster to obtain significant protection from hospitalisation and death, and if that was more than 6 months ago, desirably a Spring Booster.

  • wash your HANDS thoroughly, using soap and hot water, for 20 seconds, including after handling deliveries to your home, to kill virus picked up from contaminated surfaces (see note 1);

  • ideally wear either a well fitting FACE covering,  or better an FFP2 face mask (without a valve) when unavoidably near strangers for example when in shops, theatres, health-care settings, and when using public transport;

  • SPACE at least 2 metres from people you don't feel safe with (see note 2);

  • preferably socialise with friends and other households outdoors in the FRESH AIR else, if you are indoors, either ventilate by keeping windows open as far as is practicable or consider putting a HEPA air purifier in the room, which could also help with hay fever;

  • avoid crowded indoor settings;

  • self-isolate for 5 to 10 days to protect others if you feel unwell with cold or flu like symptoms; according to the Zoe COVID Study the current top five COVID symptoms are runny nose, headache, sore throat, tiredness, and sneezing which may be difficult to distinguish from a common cold (see notes 3 and 4);

  • respect others and give them space;

  • looking further ahead, don't forget to get your annual Flu jab when it next becomes available; that is usually sometime in September.


1) Wash your hands thoroughly before touching your face to avoid transferring virus from contaminated surfaces to your mouth, eyes and nose. If outdoors, wash hands with an alcohol based hand gel.

2) Two metres is further than you think - roughly an arm and a walking stick away.

3) The Zoe Health Study people suggest that if you have symptoms of a common cold there is a chance you might have COVID.

4) If you are 'clinically vulnerable' consult your GP or specialist; you may need to take a test and consider anti viral drugs if testing positive.

5) However careful you are, don't be too surprised if you catch COVID as the Omicron variants are highly infectious and the Wuhan vaccines give little protection against transmission and infection (although they do reduce the severity of symptoms).



This week

The main news this week is that cases are rising steeply due to increased social mixing and BA.5 largely escaping the immunity provided by the vaccines, and previous infections (more than 3 months ago).

In the USA the FDA is looking at what components should go into the next generation vaccine to be given in November 2022. On the one hand this has to be decided soon in order for the vaccine to be produced, on the other the clinical evidence is relatively weak. A vaccine combining Wuhan and Omicron strains seems likely to be chosen by administrators.

Click for FDA Briefing Document - Vaccines and Related Biological Products Advisory Committee Meeting June 28, 2022

Choosing the most effective vaccine is now said to be a complex task, with protection depending on individual response, differing levels of vaccination and previous infections in the population; one has to try to determine the improvement in a population with varying levels of immunity. There is no certainty the US will get this right.

No mention of research into new formulations in the UK - perhaps the UK government is banking on Pfizer and Moderna coming up with something? Do tell us if you know.

Note the COVID-19 Dashboard has moved to weekly reporting. Weekly updates will now be published every Wednesday at 4pm commencing on 6 July 2022.

COVID video updates

Links to updates by Professor Tim Spector of the Zoe Health Study, Independent SAGE  and pundit Dr John Campbell can be found here:-

Click to watch Zoe Health Study update on 30th June 2022 presented by Tim Spector.

Tim's back a week early with a special update on the recent skyrocketing COVID rates, many of these down to reinfections.

Click to watch Independent SAGE update on 1st July 2022

A discussion on vaccines, variants and immunity, hosted by Prof Sheena Cruickshank and Prof Danny Altmann, with guests Prof John P. Moore, Prof Maria Elena Bottazzi and Prof Rosemary Boyton, chaired by Prof Alice Roberts, and numbers presented by Dr Duncan Robertson.

Click for Dr John Campbell's talk about the spread of BA.5 and vaccine deliberations in the USA

List of vaccines

Moderna is developing a new version of its vaccine designed to protect from both Wuhan and Omicron strains.

Here is the updated list of COVID-19 vaccines ordered by the UK. It looks as though the government has settled on the use of Pfizer and Moderna with Astrazeneca now held in reserve.

Moderna has been offered for Spring Boosters at the Three Counties Showground.

The order for Valneva has been cancelled, but nevertheless it has now been approved for use by MHRA.

Click for BBC report - Valneva Covid vaccine approved for use in UK

 Nuvaxoid (Novavax) was approved in February.

 The government has signed deals to buy 114 million additional doses of the Pfizer (54M) and Moderna (60M) vaccines to use in 2022 and 2023.

Click for press announcement - Government agrees new deals to future proof vaccine rollout in light of new variant

The press announcement goes on to say that 60M doses of Novavax vaccine are expected to be delivered in 2022 and 7.5M doses of GSK/Sanofi, so there seems no intention to cancel these late arrivals.

Click for Guardian report - Novavax expected to be become fourth Covid vaccine available in UK

COVID-19 vaccine Doses ordered (million) Status
Pfizer BioNTech, two dose, -70 deg C 40+60+35 Approved, deliveries continuing, made in Belgium (EU). An additional 60M doses have been ordered for booster shots for the most vulnerable in the autumn. A further 35M doses were ordered in August 2021 for delivery in 2022.
Astrazeneca, two dose, fridge 100 Approved for those aged 30+ years; deliveries continuing. Batches made in UK, Belgium and India.
Moderna, two dose, -20 deg C 7+10 Approved. First deliveries to Wales and Scotland 7th April 2021 then England 13th April; mainly for those aged under 50 years awaiting vaccination.
Valneva, two dose 60+40
A jab from French company Valneva will be made in Livingston, West Lothian, Scotland. Order cancelled September 2021. Delivery had been expected to start in second half of 2021.

Approved by MHRA April 2022.
Janssen, single dose 20 Approved, a jab from Belgian firm Janssen, owned by Johnson and Johnson; UK approval 28th May. Order reduced from 30 to 20M.
Nuvaxovid 60 A jab manufactured by US firm Novavax being made in Stockton-on-Tees UK. Glaxo Smith Kline (GSK) contracted to fill and package vials. Approved by MHRA 3rd Feb 2022. JCVI to advise how vaccine will be used.
GSK Sanofi 60 Some delay due to adjusting the formula to give better protection to the elderly; expected approval and delivery of 7.5M doses in 2022.
Curevac 50 ? Contract placed with German company Feb 2021. Possible source of new variant vaccine; disappointing trial results have resulted in the company working on a second generation vaccine. Future uncertain.

Table of vaccines ordered by the UK government


Present rate of detected new cases

Note: this data is no longer considered reliable due to the slashing of testing and has been deleted. Figures can however still be found on the Coronavirus dashboard.


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How to request a COVID test (no longer updated)

Note: this section is largely historical now most people have either been vaccinated or gained some natural immunity.  The government no longer sees testing as important; except in hospitals. The availability of PCR tests is being cut back to save money and Lateral Flow tests are no longer free. Surveillance for new variants of COVID-19 will be mainly based on ONS surveys.

In order to protect others it is important to get a test and self isolate if you feel unwell with either classic COVID symptoms, or cold and flu like symptoms which can be caused by the Omicron variant.

There are now two types of test you can get. The more accurate PCR test involving a throat and nose swab which is sent to a laboratory for analysis and the Lateral Flow Device test.

Click for government guidance on types of tests

Getting a PCR test

Click the link below for information on how to get a free NHS PCR test if you think you may have Coronavirus:


We feel the website discourages people from seeking a PCR test who don't have all the classic symptoms. If you feel strongly enough, press on answering the questions so as to get your PCR test.

In case of difficulty you can try phoning the Coronavirus contact centre by dialing 119.

Alternatively settle for a 'Nasal swab' Lateral Flow Device test in the comfort of your own home (see below).

According to Google there is a 'drive through' COVID testing station at County Hall near the Countrywide Centre, and a 'walk through' at Pershore.

There is also a COVID testing station at the Worcester Royal Hospital for screening patients before admission.

If you cannot get to these you can order a home PCR test kit.

If you test COVID positive you should ideally self-isolate for 5 days or until you feel better.

Getting a Lateral Flow Device test

Lateral Flow Device tests (LFD) can either be booked at Claremont Pharmacy in Barnards Green, Evans Pharmacy in Malvern Link, or taken at home.

The test is intended to screen those who do not show the classic symptoms of COVID-19 and provides a means to check you are 'virus free' at home - either before visiting an elderly person, going to work, or attending a crowded event.  It also provides a means to check whether or not you have Coronavirus if you are feeling poorly with cold and flu like symptoms.

COVID Lateral Flow DeviceYou can collect home test kits, for example packaged as the COVID-19 Self-Test (Rapid Antigen Test) in boxes of 7 tests, from Malvern library, the Co-op, and most pharmacies such as Boots and Murrays in Church Street, Claremont House and Lloyds in Barnards Green, Murrays at Prospect View, Evans and Murrays in Malvern Link, and Boots and Morrisons on the Enigma Retail Park.

If collecting from a pharmacy you now have to go on-line and get a collection code to present to the pharmacy in order to obtain a pack of 7 tests. This involves giving NHS Test and Trace your email and/or mobile phone number and address.


The LFD now comes in two versions.

  • The Throat and Nose Swab kit;

  • The Nose Swab only kit (Orient Gene, Acon Flowflex and MP Biomedicals).

 (Lateral Flow Device cassette shown on the right).

ACON Flowflex comes in a blue and white pack.

Orient Gene comes in a green and white pack.

MP Biomedicals come in a blue, white and grey pack.

Click for instructions for using the LFD test kits

COVID lateral flow test leaflet

Leaflet at Boots the Chemist

Note: from 1st April 2022 you will no longer be able to get a collection code for free tests.

The new Nasal swab test kit which only requires a nose swab is the easiest to use and the best one to get but it is not yet widely available. On 10th November 2021 we found Boots in Church Street and Malvern Library were still supplying the old Throat and Nose kit; Murrays in Church Street had the new kits and Malvern library thought the library in St John's Worcester might have the new kits.

Click for NHS information on Rapid Lateral Flow Test sites and collection sites in Malvern

Hint: to see the list, click on 'filter' and then 'pick up sites for test kits' checkbox.

Click for WCC info about Lateral Flow Tests

In our opinion, many Seniors will find the classic Throat and Nose Swab home test kit difficult to use as you need to rub the tonsils or thereabouts with the swab-stick without touching the tongue, teeth, cheeks, gums or any other surface before swabbing the nose. Doing this standing in front of a mirror on your own without gagging while holding a torch in the other hand, won't be easy unless you have a steady hand and good eyesight.

The Nose Swab kit is by far the best one for testing yourself at home.

If you test COVID positive you should isolate and take a more accurate PCR test to confirm the result.

NHS Test and Trace want people to report the result of their home LFD tests within 24 hours at:


Note: only NHS tests with a QR code can be reported; it is not possible to report privately purchased tests.

This was to help NHS Test and Trace monitor where the issue of the free LFD tests is proving most effective and the spread of the disease.

However, it's tedious to enter your Lateral Flow Test result on the government website and we imagine many people now don't bother.

COVID Lateral Flow test kit

Nose swab home test kit obtained from Murrays


About the COVID Symptom Study app (Zoe)

Note: renamed the Zoe Health Study in May 2022.

COVID app logoYou can help others by downloading the COVID Symptom Study app onto your smart-phone or Ipad and reporting how you feel either daily, or as you are able. Note there is no desktop PC version for Windows.

For further details click this link: https://covid19.joinzoe.com

The Zoe app, which is easy to use, allows you to report whether or not you are feeling well and if you have had a test for COVID. This helps Kings College London monitor the spread and symptoms of the disease and give advice to government. This is an important source of data as we progress through the EXIT wave.

There are questions allowing you to enter your vaccine type and whether any side effects; this now includes boosters and flu jabs.


About the NHS COVID-19 contact tracing app (England)

Release of the NHS COVID-19 contact tracing app for Apple and Android smartphones was announced on 24th September 2020.

Click this link for NHS Coronavirus app information

If you have been close to someone who has tested COVID positive, your smart-phone will be pinged and you may be advised to self-isolate

Note: now isolation is no longer a legal requirement you might as well delete this from your smartphone.


About the NHS app and Covid Pass

An NHS COVID Pass shows your coronavirus (COVID-19) vaccination details and/or test results. This is your COVID-19 status. You may be asked to show your pass to travel abroad

You will need the NHS app installed on your smartphone and be registered with the NHS in order to display your vaccination status.

Note: this is not the NHS COVID-19 app

If you don't have a smartphone you should be able to login from a PC to obtain a printed copy.

Click to login from a desktop computer or laptop

You can use your NHS login when signing in to report the result of Lateral Flow Device tests taken at home; this has to be done within 24 hours.


Some of this information is now out of date but provides a historical context to the epidemic.

Information about Coronavirus can be found on the NHS website:




About COVID symptoms

Note: the list of symptoms was updated on 1st April 2022

Article about the effects of Wuhan Coronavirus on the human body


Reporting and how to obtain a test

How to get a test


About joining the Zoe COVID Symptom Study:




UK government Coronavirus guidance

See also - government sets out next steps for living with COVID

COVID-19 Response: Autumn and Winter Plan 2021 for England

UK Health and Security Agency (UKHSA) website


COVID Alert states

Guidance on UK COVID-19 alert level methodology: an overview

COVID-19 Alert Level lowered to 3 on 10th May 2021



Guidance on tiers: what you need to know

Government postcode checker to find tier for other areas



UK government COVID-19: Omicron daily overview

UK government Coronavirus Dashboard

Coronavirus Dashboard Interactive Map

ONS data on deaths in England and Wales (Excel spreadsheet)

NHS England COVID-19 Daily Deaths

NHS England COVID-19 Hospital Admissions

NHS England vaccination statistics

Reports on COVID intensive care beds - see intensive care national audit and research centre (ICNARC) website

Worcestershire Coronavirus Dashboard

Worcestershire COVID-19 Vaccinations Dashboard


HSA COVID-19 vaccine weekly surveillance reports

Information about NHS hospital bed numbers: past, present, future


A glimpse of the worldwide vaccination situation can be found on the Our World in Data website.

Click for chart showing % vaccinated



A forecast of the progression of the COVID-19 epidemic can be found on a University College London (UCL) website.

Click for UCL Long-term forecasting of the COVID-19 epidemic

A projection of the future COVID-19 death toll and daily deaths can be found on The Institute for Health Metrics and Evaluation website. 

Click for IHME projection of COVID-19 deaths



Coronavirus (COVID-19) latest insights by ONS

A live roundup of the latest data and trends about the coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic from the ONS and other sources.


The bigger picture

Worldometer summary of coronavirus cases worldwide

European Centre for Disease Prevention and Control info


World Health Organisation info



Window on the USA

Centre for Disease Control (CDC)

CDC COVID Data Tracker

Find maps and charts tracking cases, deaths, and trends of COVID-19 in the United States.

American Association of Retired People (AARP)



A local summary of COVID data can be found on the Worcestershire Coronavirus Dashboard.

Note 1: use the arrow <> buttons at the bottom of the Dashboard screen to move between pages.

Note 2: the figures for COVID cases are becoming meaningless as testing is run down.

Note 3:  deaths are on page 7, and hospital beds on page 9.

Click for Worcestershire County Council COVID-19 news

There is a colourful webpage offering advice on learning to live with COVID for those aged under 30 years. 'Rona' is slang for Coronavirus.

Click for The Worcestershire 'Rona' Hub

COVID Outbreak Control Plan

Click for Simple Summary of Malvern numbers on the Coronavirus dashboard



Spanish Flu

Dr Jeff Kildea's commentary about the 1919 outbreak of Spanish Flu in Australia


Views of Martin McKee, Professor of European Public Health

Follow Martin McKee on Twitter

Views of Prof Christina Pagel, a member of Independent SAGE

Follow Christina Pagel on Twitter


SAGE membership

Scientific Advisory Group for Emergencies (SAGE)


Scottish government:

Link to Scottish Government website

Link to Postcode checker for COVID restrictions by protection level in areas of Scotland


Welsh Government:

Guidance on COVID alert levels in Wales


The Malvern Hills logo

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The interpretations and opinions expressed are our own