The Department of Health and Social Care has announced that over 90% of the UK population aged over 12 have now received a first dose of a Covid-19 vaccine and that there has been a surge in first doses.
In response, Matthew Taylor, chief executive of the NHS Confederation, said: “There can be no doubt how hard the NHS has worked to deliver the significantly expanded Covid vaccination programme, including over Christmas Day and Boxing Day and this will continue into the new year.
“How the NHS has been able to ramp up this activity in less than a month since the JCVI updated its guidance on the gap between second doses and booster shots is truly remarkable and it is a testament to the system’s ability to act at pace in the national interest.
“It is encouraging to see people still coming forward for their first and second doses, as well as the massive achievement on boosters.
“However, cases of omicron are rising rapidly and for the first time since the spring, hospital admissions have topped 1,000. Health leaders are worried about the level of illness and demand that their staff across the NHS could have to respond to in January and so, it is vital that everyone who is eligible takes up the offer of a jab or booster shot.
“Some primary care leaders are telling us their vaccination clinics are only a third full and that people are not turning up to as many as 40% of their booked appointments. While walk-ins continue to be on offer, they are calling on people to stick to their scheduled vaccine appointments and if they can’t for whatever reason that they cancel with notice as this will help manage pressures, particularly given the staffing crisis we are facing currently.”