Covid 19: First and second jabs surge as Omicron spreads across the UK
Nearly a quarter of a million unvaccinated people came forward for their first jab in the run up to Christmas, with 221,564 first doses given in England between 15 and 21 December – a 46 per cent increase on the previous week.
A further 279,112 second jabs also took place during the time period.
This increase was largely driven by young people, with 85 per cent uplift in first jabs for 18-24-year-olds and a 71 per cent rise for the 25-30 age-group.
However, the same week also saw more over-60s get their first Covid-19 jab than during any seven-day period since the beginning of June.
The latest reports suggest daily vaccination figures are at their highest for six weeks, with more vaccine hesitant people deciding to take the vaccine amid the ongoing rush for third doses.
This follows the national drive to reach a million booster jabs a day, and offer every adult in the UK a third dose before New Year.
Health Secretary Sajid Javid has announced that over 32 million booster jabs have been given across the country – approximately 56 per cent of the eligible population.
There a roughly 3,000 vaccination sites around the country, with jabs continuing over the festive window as over 200,000 appointments available on Christmas Eve, Christmas Day and Boxing Day.
Despite the rush for Covid-19 protections, 10.2 per cent of over-12s are yet to have any vaccine dose.
So far, more than 51m people in the UK have had a first vaccine dose – around 90 per cent of over-12s, while over 47m (82 per cent of over-12s) have had both doses.
Meanwhile the UK has also secured 4.25m antiviral drugs, and has been buoyed by reports the AstraZeneca vaccine also offers protection as a booster.
The government is looking to provide people with as much protection as possible as the highly transmissible Omicron variant spreads across the country – with a record 122,186 cases reported on December 24, and daily hospitalisations increasing 40 per cent over the past week.
Recent estimates from the Office of National Statistics suggest that 1.74m people have Covid-19, with potentially five per cent of Londoners infected, the current Omicron hotspot.
Multiple studies suggest the Omicron variant is considerably milder than the Delta variant, and has a reduced hospitalisation risk of potentially 70 per cent, provided people have three vaccine doses.
The data suggests a booster jab considerably reduces symptoms, with early studies from the UK Health Security Agency prevented around 75 per cent of people from getting any Covid-19 symptoms.
New Covid-19 restrictions came into force in Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland today.
The three nations have brought back curbs on the hospitality and leisure industries, and reintroduced social distancing rules including limits on the size of gatherings.
However, Prime Minister Boris Johnson has not announced any further restrictions in England .
The previous raft of ‘Plan B’ restrictions including mask mandates and Covid-19 passes only passed through the House of Commons with Labour votes after 100 Tory MPs rebelled.