Friday Five

Cuts to funding and concerns about a second peak – this week’s Friday Five

Flu vaccine considered for an extra 10 million people

The government could be considering plans to extend flu vaccines to all over 50s for this winter, with the aim of easing the flu burden on the NHS and to help cope with any second wave of Covid-19.

Back in April, the Scientific Advisory Group for Emergencies recommended that the whole population should be vaccinated against flu, but this is likely to be ruled out due to lack of available vaccine and the practicalities of doing so.

The option of expanding flu vaccination programme to over 50s is just one of the options being considered, and it is thought that the government will hold out on announcing it as they need to be sure they can fulfil the promise.

Read the full story in the HSJ. 

Covid kick starts the relationship between tech and pharma

Novartis has published a global research report titled Powerful Pairing, which looks at the changing perceptions of professionals in the tech industry towards pharma over the course of the pandemic.

The research showed that 49% of the tech professionals included in the study would now consider switching to a career pharma, with reasons including the opportunity to innovate through tech, improve quality of care and make systems more efficient.

The report also suggests that pharma’s response to Covid-19 contributed to the improvements in its reputation amongst tech professionals.

Read the full story in the PharmaTimes.

Growing concerns of a second Covid-19 peak

The NHS in the South East of England are preparing a contingency plan to cope with a second peak of Covid-19 more than double the size of the first.

This plan has not been based on any actual forecast or intelligence, but on assumptions for a ‘worst case scenario’.

It’s also understood that other NHS regions are planning on the basis that a further peak of Covid-19 demand could be larger than the first.

Read the full story in the HSJ.

Cuts to research funding in Covid-19 wake

Charities including Cancer Research UK (CR UK) and the British Heart Foundation are warning that Covid-19 will have a substantial impact on research funding.

CR UK has already announced a cut of £44 million across its research portfolio because of the pandemic, and now the charity is saying it could be forced to cut up to £150 million per year.

A cut of £150 million is the equivalent of 10 years’ worth of clinical trials going unfunded, with risks of closure for several research sites, thousands of early-career scientists left unsupported, and cancelled plans to fund new clinical trials.

Read the full story in the PharmaTimes.


Quote of the week

Commenting on the launch of the ‘Care Home of the Future’ campaign which aims to help the care home sector by improving digital infrastructure, Vic Rayner, executive director of the National Care Forum said:

“The digital divide has been laid bare, and we need to ensure that our future focus and vision for care homes – for people, providers and government – is to rapidly build bridges and support, which enable all care homes to have in place the core architecture that enables a state of digital readiness for whatever happens next.”

Read the full story in Digital Health.