A summary of the Covid-19 winter plan

Thanks to the success of the UK’s vaccination programme, data has shown that the link between cases, hospitalisations and deaths has weakened significantly.

As part of the Covid-19 winter plan, the government has introduced a ‘Plan A’ and ‘Plan B’ in order to sustain the progress made and prepare the country for future challenges.

Plan A includes:

  • Building defences through vaccines, antivirals and disease modifying therapeutics.
  • Identifying and isolating positive cases through Test and Trace to reduce transmission.
  • Supporting the NHS and social care.
  • Advising the public on protection measures with guidance and communications.
  • An international approach to managing risks and distributing vaccinations.


  • Booster doses will be offered to individuals who received vaccination in Phase 1 of the vaccination programme.
  • First doses will be offered to 12-15 year olds.
  • Efforts will be made to maximise uptake in those eligible but who have not yet taken up the offer.

Test and Trace

  • It will continue to be expected that anyone with Covid-19 symptoms should self-isolate and take a PCR test. The legal requirement for 10-day self-isolation after a positive PCR result will remain in place.
  • PCR testing will continue to be available free of charge for those with symptoms.
  • Contact tracing will continue throughout autumn and winter.

The government will continue to offer practical and financial support to those who are eligible and require assistance to self-isolate. This will be reviewed by the end of March 2022.

NHS and social care

  • The government has made £63 billion available to health and care services to respond to the challenges they have faced. There will be an addition £5.4 billion allocated to support the NHS over the next 6 months.
  • This includes £1 billion to tackle backlogs in procedures caused by Covid-19 and the delivery of routine surgery and treatments for patients.

Influenza (flu)

To reduce pressure on the NHS, government recommends that as many people as possible receive a flu vaccination this autumn and winter. A free flu vaccination will still be available for all previously eligible groups:

  • Primary school children
  • 65 year olds and over
  • Vulnerable groups
  • Pregnant women

Plan B

Should the NHS come under unsustainable pressure, government may introduce Plan B to help control transmission and reduce economic and social impacts. This includes:

  • Communicating to the public the need to act more cautiously
  • Introducing mandatory vaccine-only certification in certain settings
  • Legally mandating face coverings
  • Consider asking people to work from home again where possible.

Read the full announcement here.