UK Prime Minister Boris Johnson has launched a massive drive to jab more than a million people every day with covid boosters and prevent a New Year lockdown.
The army and extra NHS staff are being deployed across parts of the country to help achieve his goal of getting a third jab into every one over the age of 18 by New Years Day.
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In his address to the nation last night Johnson announced he was rapidly speeding up the UK’s covid booster jab rollout as he warned the country that: “There is a tidal wave of Omicron coming.”
Mail Online reports: Launching what he described as the ‘Omicron Emergency Boost’, Mr Johnson said everyone over the age of 18 would now be offered their booster before the New Year and that in order to deliver the necessary jabs by the end of the year ‘we’ll need to match the NHS’s best vaccination day yet – and then beat it day after day’.
But in the first sign of chaos, the NHS’s online booking site crashed this morning as thousands of desperate Britons crammed onto the site to try to arrange their top-up jab.
No10’s scaling up of the programme will see extra nurses and healthcare staff taken off normal duties and routine treatments cancelled. NHS bosses today warned of the ‘huge’ logistical task ahead, saying it would take ‘time’ to get fully up and running.
The drive will also see 42 military planning teams across every region, additional vaccine sites and mobile units, an extension of opening hours for clinics so they run seven days a week and thousands of extra volunteer vaccinators trained.
The PM’s intervention last night comes amid the ever-growing threat of tougher restrictions in January, with the potential for a new lockdown if Omicron cases surge out of control after the UK’s Covid alert level was raised from Level 3 to Level 4.
Both Scotland and Wales have dangled the possibility of having to go even further in bid to ward off the highly-transmissible variant.
Yesterday the UK reported another 1,239 confirmed cases of the Omicron variant — an increase of 65 per cent in the past 24 hours. It was the highest daily rise and more than double the previous record, with the total number of known cases now sitting above 3,000.
In his speech the PM urged people to ‘get boosted now’ and said the UK is ‘now facing an emergency in our battle with the new variant’ and ‘we must urgently reinforce our wall of vaccine protection to keep our friends and loved ones safe’.
The PM said the data was now clear that two doses of the vaccine are ‘simply not enough to give the level of protection we all need’ but the ‘good news is that our scientists are confident that with a third dose – a booster dose – we can all bring our level of protection back up’.
He said this will require ‘an extraordinary effort’ as he revealed some medical appointments will have to be postponed until 2022 so that clinicians can commit to administering jabs.
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