Vaccination centres to pop up ‘like Christmas trees’ as PM sets booster target

·3 min read

Temporary vaccination centres are to pop up “like Christmas trees”, Boris Johnson said as he set the challenge of offering all adults Covid-19 booster jabs in just 62 days.

Health Secretary Sajid Javid said that the booster programme was being “put on steroids”, but what does mean for the roll-out of the programme?

– Who is eligible for a booster?

Vaccination experts advised on Monday that the booster programme should be extended to include all adults amid concerns about the Omicron variant – making 14 million more people eligible for a booster shot.

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PA Graphics

– When will I get it?

The Prime Minister said that all adults would be offered a booster by the end of January.

But the head of the NHS warned that the campaign “can’t happen overnight” and told people not to contact the NHS until they are called forward.

Like the initial vaccine programme, this programme will go down through the age groups in increments, this time by five-year gaps.

– So how can I book my jab?

People who were already eligible will be prioritised.

An additional 6.9 million over-40s became eligible for a booster because the period between second jab and booster has been reduced to three months; people were previously asked to wait six months.

This group will be contacted first.

The NHS will then start calling forward the extra seven million people aged 18 to 39.

– Where will I get my booster?

Mr Johnson said that temporary vaccination centres would “pop up like Christmas trees”.

For instance, former health secretary Matt Hancock urged volunteers to come forward to help a mass vaccination clinic at Newmarket Racecourse in Suffolk, where it is hoped that 10,000 boosters will be delivered on Sunday.

Mobile vaccination units will also be used so people can “basically be vaccinated on their doorsteps”, NHS chief executive Amanda Pritchard said.

Meanwhile, 1,500 community pharmacy sites will ramp up capacity – and be rewarded financially for doing so.

And hospital hubs will be expanded to vaccinate more patients, NHS and social care workers.

– How will the NHS achieve it?

Ms Pritchard said that the vaccine programme was already at its “most complex phase” and that staff were working at “breakneck speed” to jab people as quickly as possible.

Around 400 military personnel will be deployed to help efforts.

The Prime Minister said the “jabs army” of volunteers would also assist the national effort.

Ms Pritchard said it was working with St John Ambulance and the Royal Voluntary Service to recruit “tens of thousands” more volunteers, and on Monday the NHS will start to recruit 10,000 paid vaccinator roles.

Vaccine clinics will also increase capacity on Sundays in an attempt to increase the number of people jabbed.

– Is there anything else I should know?

Priority will be given according to age and clinical vulnerability.

Health inspectors have agreed to continue their pause on inspecting GP surgeries to free up more GP time for vaccines.

The NHS is also examining whether or not it can “safely reduce or even eliminate” the amount of time people are asked to wait for monitoring after they have had their jab.

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