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Covid booster: pace of NHS vaccine rollout slows in England despite threat of Omicron variant

The UK Government pledged to accelerate the booster programme but the rollout slowed last weekend.

The pace of England’s booster rollout slowed last weekend, despite rising cases of the new Omicron variant, NationalWorld can exclusively reveal.

On Sunday (5 December) 221,674 people were given a third injection - an 86% drop on Saturday’s figures when almost 200,000 more people were jabbed (412,755).

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Vaccinations tend to drop on a Sunday but the seven-day rolling average shows a similar picture with vaccinations falling to a three-day low.

The analysis comes as the Government pledged to accelerate the booster programme and offer every adult in the country a jab by the end of January in a bid to fight off the looming threat potentially posed by Omicron.

How many people have received the booster?

Analysis by NationalWorld of UK Government data shows an average of 320,902 boosters were done everyday in England between 29 November and 5 December

But the pace has been slowing.

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Between 28 November and 4 December, England was averaging at 321,118 new booster jabs each day and from 27 November to 3 December 322,104 people were being vaccinated on average each day.

The most recent figures show a 0.1% drop on the day before.

The booster rollout in Scotland also saw a 0.1% drop for the same time period, whereas Wales saw a 1.8% increase. Northern Ireland’s latest vaccination figures have been delayed.

Around 44.5 million adults (people aged 18 and over) in England are eligible for a booster vaccination and are set to be offered one before the end of January. As of Sunday 17.2 million people in England had received a booster.

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England is also seeing a surge in positive Omicron cases.

Yesterday 261 new cases were confirmed by the UK Health Security Agency - a 33% increase on Sunday’s figures when 197 new Omicron cases were reported in England.

There are now 336 positive Omicron cases confirmed in the UK.

What did the Government say?

A Department of Health and Social Care spokesperson said military personnel and pop-up sites would help deliver booster jabs in the coming weeks.

“The UK has one of the highest uptake rates in the world, with more than 85% of adults double jabbed so far and more than 20 million people receiving a third dose or booster,” they said.

“The Health and Social Care Secretary has accepted advice from the Joint Committee on Vaccination and Immunisation to extend the offer of a booster jab to all adults by the end of January 2022, which will help protect more people and further strengthen our wall of defence.

“Over the coming weeks hundreds of military personnel, 1,500 community pharmacy sites, additional hospital hubs and pop-up sites will help the NHS deliver these vital jabs at speed.”

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