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Thursday, May 26, 2022

Two jabs are “not enough” in the fight against Omicron, the Health secretary has warned

Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, Sajid Javid, has made an announcement in parliament today about Omicron and booster jabs.

Coronavirus booster jabs will be available to every adult over the age of 18 in England from Monday, with the aim of administrating of giving it to all eligible adults before the New Year, the Prime Minister confirmed last night.

It comes as the first Omicron death was confirmed in the UK by Prime Minister Boris Johnson today. The new variant is spreading globally, with cases found to be doubling on a daily basis in the UK.

Speaking in parliament, Mr Javid, said: “Since the UK became the first country to approve the vaccine against Covid-19 almost exactly a year ago, we have been locked in a race between the virus and the vaccine.

“The success of our national vaccination programme has moved us ahead in that race. Now with the new Omicron variant, we have to work even harder to stay ahead. Since last week, we have learned two things about this variant.

“The first is that no variant of covid-19 has spread this fast. There are now 4713 confirmed cases of Omicron in the UK. The UK health Health Security Agency estimate that the current number of daily infection is around 200,000.”

Mr Javid went on to say that whilst Omicron represents 20% of all Covid-19 infections in England, it represents 44% in London and will be the dominant variant in the capital in the next 48 hours.’

10 people have been hospitalised from the variant so far. “Hospitalisations and death lag by around two weeks”, Mr Javid added.

The Covid-19 alert was raised to four, the second-highest level over the weekend.

The NHS response to Omicron will be coordinated nationally, and not led by individual hospital trusts.

“The second thing we’ve learnt in the past weeks is that two jabs are not enough to prevent infection against Omicron. A third dose, a booster dose, provides strong protection.

“Analysis from The UK Health Security Agency found that a third dose is 70% effective of preventing symptomatic infection and we expect the booster dose will take effect more quickly than the second dose.”

Speaking during a visit to a vaccination clinic near Paddington, in west London, the Prime Minister said: “Sadly yes Omicron is producing hospitalisations and sadly at least one patient has been confirmed to have died with Omicron.

“So I think the idea that this is somehow a milder version of the virus, I think that’s something we need to set on one side and just recognise the sheer pace at which it accelerates through the population. So the best thing we can do is all get our boosters.”

The announcement is amidst controversy for the prime minister with the scandal around Christmas parties which are alleged to have taken place last year gathering pace.

The Government has set out a target to put booster jabs in the arms of 500,000 people per day, an increase of around 150,000 from the current average of 350,000.

Due to “exceptionally high demand” ordering lateral flow tests on gov.co.uk has been temporarily suspended.

The UK Health Security Agency, said: “Due to exceptionally high demand, ordering lateral flow tests on gov.uk has been temporarily suspended to fulfil existing orders.

“Everyone who needs a lateral flow test can collect test kits – either at their local pharmacy, some community sites and some schools and colleges.”

750 Armed Forces personnel have been made available to support the NHS, the Department of Health and Social Care and Scottish Government to accelerate the vaccine booster programme.

Of this, 600 Armed Forces personnel have been made available to NHS England to administer vaccines, working in small teams across the country.

In addition, around 50 personnel will provide planning support to NHS England. 41 planners will deploy to NHS trusts across England and 10 logistics experts will be based at NHS England’s headquarters in London.

Defence Secretary Ben Wallace said: “We have rapidly mobilised Service personnel to work alongside our dedicated health services to accelerate the vaccine booster programme.

“Our Armed Forces will help to get vaccines into arms as quickly as possible as we continue our efforts to support the UK’s response to the pandemic.”

You can get the booster from these walk-in clinics:

  • The Broadway (Market Street entrance), Hall Ings, Bradford, BD1 1JR from 10am to 5pm
  • Rimmington’s Pharmacy, Bridge Street, Bradford, BD1 1AY from 9am to 6pm
  • Jacob’s Well, Nelson Street, Bradford, BD1 5AX, from 9am to 7pm

Starting from tomorrow:

  • Jacob’s Well, Nelson Street, Bradford, BD1 5AX from 9.30am to 4pm
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