BoJo's Booster Plan: NHS Providers to Do Its Best to Deliver on Vaccinating Million People Per Day
09:36 GMT 13.12.2021 (Updated: 21:39 GMT 18.10.2022)
Boris Johnson rolled out a new booster plan hours after Britain's COVID-19 alert level was raised to four due to the spread of the new Omicron strain in the country, where at least 3,137 such cases have already been registered.
Chief executive of National Health Service (NHS)
Providers Chris Hopson has pledged that the organisation will do its best to deliver on the "hugely ambitious" booster campaign unveiled by Prime Minister Boris Johnson, but that the health service is "already beyond full stretch" and will "need to reprioritise".
He added that with more hospital staff expected to become involved, it is "likely to impact on planned care, causing some additional delays".
Johnson's recent declaration of the "Omicron Emergency Boost" plan stipulates offering a COVID-19 booster jab to every adult before the end of December, among other targets.
13 December 2021, 00:44 GMT
It means vaccinating about one million people a day, as compared to the 530,000 people that were vaccinated last Saturday. In March, as many as 844,000 Britons received a COVID shot in a single day, a record that has yet to be broken.
Hopson was echoed by Pat Cullen, general secretary and CEO of the Royal College of Nursing trade union, who voiced concern over "the scale and pace of this expansion, given these same nurses are already facing huge demands under existing unsustainable pressures in every part of the UK health and care system".
Shadow Health Secretary Wes Streeting, for his part, underscored in an interview with Sky News that the government should make sure that the NHS has the necessary resources to deliver on the booster plan.
Streeting insisted that the health service needs time to "mobilise" and that "they're not going to be doing a million jabs overnight".
"I think what we've got to bear in mind that if we don't get Britain boosted, and if this virus spreads even more rapidly than it already is, the NHS will be hit with disruption anyway, because of increased hospitalisations and pressure on the NHS in the busiest months of the year, so the campaign to get Britain boosted will also help to bring down those record high waiting lists", the shadow health secretary added.
He spoke after the PM said in a televised address to the nation on Sunday night that he was "afraid" the UK is "now facing an emergency" in its battle with the new variant Omicron, and that "we [the country] must urgently reinforce our wall of vaccine protection to keep our friends and loved ones safe".
10 November 2021, 05:51 GMT
"No one should be in any doubt: there is a tidal wave of Omicron coming", the UK prime minister declared, arguing that two doses of the COVID-19 vaccine "are simply not enough to give you the level of protection we all need".
Under Johnson's booster vaccination blueprint, those in England aged 18 years and over will be eligible to receive a booster dose before year's end, not before the end of January as was previously planned.
The prime minister promised that the army will be deployed across the country to help ramp up the booster programme, with GPs instructed to cancel appointments and focus instead on adding to the target of offering vaccines to every UK adult by the end of December.
As of Sunday, at least 3,137 cases of the Omicron COVID-19 variant
have been identified in the UK, amounting to over 1,000 additional cases since last Saturday.