Salford University, one of the universities involved in the Greater Manchester Civic University Agreement

A lecturer at the University of Salford has urged Salfordians to take up offers of booster vaccinations.

Covid booster jabs are to be offered to all over-18s in the UK with face masks now again required in shops and on public transport, to help stop a potential wave of infections driven by the new variant Omicron.

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Dr Chloe James, senior lecturer in medical microbiology at the University of Salford says its unclear if the new variant causes more severe disease or is more infectious.

She said: “The omicron variant has a lot of mutations, but we still don’t know enough about them to fully understand whether it causes more severe disease or whether it is more infectious. In the same way, we don’t know how well the vaccines will protect against it.



“What we do know is that the vaccines have been great at reducing the severity of disease caused by delta and other variants. Many people will also have developed natural immunity after exposure to the virus, but there is still a considerable number of people who may be vulnerable.”

Dr James went on to advise how people in Salford can reduce their risk of contracting, transmitting or becoming seriously ill with COVID-19.

“Vaccine protection may be short term, so the booster is important. Data from surveillance programmes will be crucial in determining whether the omicron mutations mean that it escapes the current vaccines. I am sure that vaccination along with the other practical measures is still key. The more that spread can be reduced, the less likely more variants can manifest.

“This is why it’s a good idea to wear masks and remain vigilant about testing. Masks are a simple measure that most people can take to protect others. They also act as an important reminder that the pandemic is still at large. Wearing a mask is just one measure, we should also remain vigilant with testing and isolation when needed.”

In Salford, the vaccination rate is falling behind the national statistics, with just over 60% of people having received both doses, compared to nearly 70% in England as a whole.

Head over to for advice on COVID-19 booster vaccines for those aged 18 to 39 and a second dose for ages 12 to 15.

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