Stick Your Jabs! UK COVID-19 Booster Uptake Slumps Since Pre-Xmas Omicron Panic
© REUTERS / HENRY NICHOLLS / A person wearing a protective face mask walks over Waterloo Bridge during morning rush hour, amid the ongoing coronavirus disease (COVID-19) pandemic in LondonA person wearing a protective face mask walks over Waterloo Bridge during morning rush hour, amid the ongoing coronavirus disease (COVID-19) pandemic in London
© REUTERS / HENRY NICHOLLS / A person wearing a protective face mask walks over Waterloo Bridge during morning rush hour, amid the ongoing coronavirus disease (COVID-19) pandemic in London
The daily number of coronavirus vaccinations peaked at around a million as the booster drive reached its crescendo just before Christmas. But it has since fallen to levels way below those seen in October and November, before the Omicron variant reached the UK.
Uptake of third COVID-19 booster jabs in the UK has collapsed since the government lifted the threat of Christmas and New Year lockdowns — and dropped most other measures.
NHS vaccination centres saw an unprecedented rush for the booster shots in December, after the milder but more-infectious Omicron variant reached British shores.
The daily number of third doses given peaked at almost 970,000 on December 21, the day Prime Minister Boris Johnson said there would be no restrictions on meeting relatives over Christmas.
But on January 20, the latest set of figures released by the UK Health Security Agency on Friday, the tally had fallen to just over 65,000 — a 15-fold decrease.
© UK Health Security AgencyUK COVID-19 vaccine third or booster dose uptake from late October 2021 to January 2022
UK COVID-19 vaccine third or booster dose uptake from late October 2021 to January 2022
Uptake fell sharply after New Year's Eve and did not even recover to the averages of over 300,000 per day seen in October and November, instead trailing off to under 100,000.
Almost 37 million people, around two-thirds of adults in the UK, have now had the third shot — compared to over 90 per cent for the first and second.
The government's initial target for the new immunisation drive was all over-50s, health workers and those at risk due to other medical conditions, a total of 30 million.
On Wednesday Johnson announced that the emergency measures he imposed in early December, including the imposition of unpopular vaccine passports for large events and venues and advice to wear face masks and work from home, would be lifted on January 26. Secondary school pupils no longer have to wear masks in class since Thursday.
But some opposition politicians and media pundits accused the PM of easing the burden of COVID-19 measures as a sop to rebellious backbench MPs threatening to remove him over the 'Partygate' scandal.
That drew reaction from Tories and conservative commentators.
Another unnecessary attack from the First Minister who has presided over the harshest restrictions and highest death rate in the UK.— Andrew RT Davies (@AndrewRTDavies) January 21, 2022
Labour’s decisions have always been about the politics, and not the science.
That’s why they don’t want a COVID inquiry in Wales. https://t.co/0pw89Sje1W
This. pic.twitter.com/nUs3hwgOAx— Paul Joseph Watson (@PrisonPlanet) January 21, 2022