Europe

Covid booster shame! Why thousands won’t get their booster on time

Jacinda Ardern stops press conference over vaccine question

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Covid vaccinations will be compulsory for the NHS’s 1.2 million full-time staff in England from next April. The move has been deeply criticised, with warnings it could lead some to quit. Health Secretary Sajid Javid delayed introducing the new rule until next April in a bid to avoid a potential widespread exodus of staff during the NHS’s busiest time of year. But as vaccines are made mandatory for health workers – why are many raising concerns about the rollout of the booster programme?

A total of 8,652,842 million people across Britain have received their third booster Covid jabs so far, according to the Government’s Covid dashboard.

Over the course of the first six weeks of the rollout, since its first day on September 30, an average of 1.3m doses have been administered weekly.

This is far behind the Government’s original target of 2.5m each week – partly due to the delay in getting started with the programme.

The Government originally intended to kick off the booster programme during the first week of September, but it was delayed.

The booster vaccination rate rose to 2.2m a week in October but has dropped to 1.9m a week by the end of last month.

In total, there are almost 32m people, all of whom are in the top priority groups as identified by the Joint Committee on Vaccination and Immunisation, eligible for booster vaccinations.

A total of 32m people received their second vaccinations by June 24 – meaning all those in the top nine priority groups are eligible to receive their third shots before Christmas Day.

However, a more than 23.5m people would need to be vaccinated with booster jabs in the remaining seven weeks for the Government to hit this target.

To hit the Christmas target, at least 3.4m doses would need to be delivered each week according to the figures.

Unfortunately, the Government is likely to miss this target – meaning thousands of vulnerable people will be left at risk.

According to data analysed and compiled by Express.co.uk, the current daily average rate for booster shots based on the past seven days is 278,053.4.

If this number is taken as the daily rate going forwards, it would take until January 27 for all those aged 50 and over, those clinically vulnerable aged 16 to 64 and NHS and health workers to be vaccinated.

This is more than a month behind where it should be if the ideal six-month gap is taken into account.

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According to the daily average figure, 22,536,894.4 million people are estimated to have been given the third vaccine up to Christmas Day.

This would leave a shortfall of almost 10m people who are eligible for a booster jab – all of whom would be left vulnerable to the virus given waning immunity levels.

Or if this is rounded up to the 32m people who received their second jabs by June 24 – almost 10m people.

The Health Minister and other leading health experts have repeated calls for all those eligible to get jabbed ahead of the winter months, warning it is the only way to keep sage.

Sajid Javid said: “More than eight million people across the UK now have the vital protection boosters provide, keeping them and their loved ones safe over the coming months.

“It’s never been easier to get your booster with walk-in sites across the country now open for those eligible – if it’s been six months since your second dose, get your booster as soon as you can.”

Cold weather leads to increased transmission of viruses, putting more pressure on the NHS.

England’s Deputy Chief Medical Officer Jonathan Van-Tam warned Christmas could be “potentially problematic” on Wednesday, as he urged caution over the winter months.

He said: “On top of that, we have to keep a weather eye on the absence of new variants of concern, and that’s something that is always out there with this virus.”

Professor Van-Tam said that the pandemic is “not quite over”, warning there are a few more months to pass before a “calmer set of waters” hits around Spring.

Booster vaccines are a key priority for Britain’s Covid plan as the country heads into winter.

Critics claim the vaccination programme is far too slow, and demand a faster response in a bid to save hundreds of vulnerable lives.

More than 880 patients were admitted to hospital on Wednesday, November 3 – with the Government’s Covid dashboard indicating there were 1,030 patients in ventilation beds.

Over the last month, 4,409 people over 50 were admitted to English hospitals after testing positive for Covid, despite these individuals being fully vaccinated.

In that age group, a total of 2,148 people died as a result of the virus.

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