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NHS on course to deliver a MILLION daily Covid jabs this weekend


RECORD numbers of Brits had their booster shot on Wednesday – with the NHS on course to deliver a million daily jabs this weekend.

Official counts show 745,143 people had their third dose, as records tumbled for a second day in a row.

People have been queueing hours in some instances to get their booster due to the high level of demand among the public

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People have been queueing hours in some instances to get their booster due to the high level of demand among the publicCredit: Getty

The total is up nearly 90,000 on the previous day’s high as the public enthusiastically responded to calls to “keep giving Omicron both barrels” by getting boosted.

Once first and second shots were counted, the NHS put 812,044 Covid vaccines in arms on Wednesday, raising hopes the million mark will be imminently breached.

A Government source said: “It’s looking good, as long as the public keep on coming forward.

“The aim is to deliver one million jabs a day and we’ve been steadily upping the number of boosters in arms throughout the week.

“Saturday is always our best day for vaccinations. If we can keep on the same course then it’s possible we can top the million mark this weekend.”

NHS bosses are planning a mammoth booster drive this weekend, with millions desperate to get their extra shot ahead of Christmas.

Mass vaccination sites are opening up at East London Mosque and Jaguar Land Rover Solihull, as well as sporting arenas – with pop-ups at Sandown Racecourse, Wembley Stadium and Leeds’ Elland Road.

Hubs across the country will run 24-hour jab-a-thons, including the Artrix centre in Sajid Javid’s constituency of Bromsgrove and Lordship Lane clinic in North London.

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Health chiefs have also ditched the 15-minute waiting rule – allowing the NHS to deliver up to 30 per cent more jabs from today [Friday].

A Whitehall source said: “The NHS is pulling out all the stops and ramping up jab delivery every day.

There’s now real hope the UK will hit the magic one million mark sooner rather than later.” The nation’s top nurse has urged former NHS staff to help on the vaccination frontline.

Chief Nurse Ruth May called on healthcare students and retired workers to join the fight against Omicron.

She said: “With Omicron case numbers soaring, this new strain poses a grave threat.

“Booster jabs are absolutely critical for strengthening our defences, and the milestone of 25 million top-up jabs is a testament to the enthusiasm of people up and down the country who are rolling up their sleeves to get boosted now

Sajid Javid

“That is why I am using my free time vaccinating and why we’re asking past and future generations of NHS staff, along with the public, to play their part in this Herculean task.”

More than 25.4 million boosters have been doled out across the UK – with 3.8 million in the past week alone.

It means 44 per cent of over-12s have now had their third shot.

Health Secretary Sajid Javid said: “We have no time to waste in the race between virus and the vaccine.

“Booster jabs are absolutely critical for strengthening our defences, and the milestone of 25 million top-up jabs is a testament to the enthusiasm of people up and down the country who are rolling up their sleeves to get boosted now.

It comes as daily Covid cases hit a new all-time high of 88,376, fuelled by the super-infectious variant.

The latest total is up nearly 10,000 on the previous record figure – and a rise of 74 per cent on last Thursday’s tally.

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But hospitalisation from Omicron still remain low at just 16, due to a lag in infections leading to severe illness.

However, Professor Chris Whitty warned the true tally is “much bigger than that”, with admissions already baked in.

Speaking to MPs, he said it is “entirely possible” Omicron will trigger record daily hospitalisations next month.

The country’s top doctor also warned Plan C would be needed if the boosters were not as effective as hoped.

Addressing the Common’s Health and Social Care Committee, Prof Whitty said: “Obviously if the facts change and it becomes clearer things are heading the wrong way, ministers are always going to take constant reviews of this”.

The Chief Medical Officer predicts Britain will see variant cases spiking at a “fairly impressive” rate with the UK wave set to “peak fast”.

But it may also end sooner than previous outbreaks, with patients spending less time in hospital.

In a more upbeat assessment, he told MPs that by 2023 Covid would be a problem more akin to flu.

What will happen is the risks will gradually decrease over time.
But I think each six months will be better than the last six months

Professor Chris Whitty

He added: “What will happen is the risks will gradually decrease over time.
But I think each six months will be better than the last six months.”

Experts warn the arrival of Omicron could see the NHS cancel 100,000 operations.
Birmingham University researchers claim a fresh wave of Covid patients will force trusts to ditch around a third of non-urgent procedures.

Even before the variant hits hospitals, bosses are worried they will run out of staff as they get forced into isolation.

Dr Katherine Henderson, chief of the Royal College of Emergency Medicine, said one in 10 staff in London – the variant hotspot – are already off sick.

And the rest of the country could follow suit as Omicron takes off across the regions.

NHS figures show Covid sick days across England surged by 1,000 a day last week, with 13,000 staff off compared to 12,000 a week earlier.

Dr Henderson said: “Usually staff sickness would last a couple of days but, of course, if you test Covid positive you’re off for 10 days.

“This is a dangerous situation. We’re already seeing the effect on not having the staff to run shifts properly and safely, so we’re worried about patient harm.”

Boris Johnson urges people to get a booster jab and be careful about Omicron

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