UK fails to hit 1m booster jabs a day target AGAIN

UK fails to hit 1m booster jabs a day target AGAIN with 840,000 vaccines delivered and risks missing goal of giving a third dose to every adult by New Year

  • Only 840k boosters were given yesterday, well short of No10’s 1million target 
  • UK has only nine days left to boost each of the the 45million eligible Britons 
  • Vaccinators need to jab 1.5m people daily before the end of 2021 to meet goal 

The Government’s target of boosting every Briton by the end of the year is slipping further away, after only 840,000 third Covid jabs were given yesterday.

No10 has only nine days left of 2021 to hit its ambitious target of giving every eligible person in the UK a booster before the end of the year.

When Boris Johnson announced the turbocharging of the Covid top-up jab campaign on December 12 the Prime Minister said the UK would need to deliver 1million boosters per day in order to meet the objective.  

At the time Mr Johnson promised to call in the Army and use volunteer vaccinators to roll-out more jabs on the back of increasing worries regarding the spread of the supermutant Omicron variant of Covid.   

But despite the Prime Minister’s pledge, the 1million daily-boosters goal has so far proved elusive.

The closest the UK has got to meeting the 1milllion daily target was on Tuesday when just under 970,000 Covid booster jabs were administered across Britain. 

The addition of yesterday’s 840,000 third dose jabs bring the total number of boosted Britons to just under 31.7 million.

With an estimated 45million people across the UK eligible for a booster, this means the vaccination campaign would need to deliver 1.5million their Covid jab doses every day between now and the New Year.

This would have to include Christmas Day and Boxing Day.

While booster numbers have risen in the past week No10’s goal of delivering a-million boosters-a-day has remained frustratingly out of reach

The continuing failure to reach the million boosters target came as Covid cases soared today to just under 120,000, 35 per cent higher than last week.

A record breaking 119,789 cases of the virus were recorded in the UK in the last 24 hours, Government data shows.

Britain considers FOURTH Covid vaccination

Britain is considering giving out fourth Covid vaccines in a bid to stop the surge of Omicron cases, following the lead of Germany and Israel.

The rollout of a second set of boosters is being examined by experts on the Joint Committee on Vaccination and Immunisation (JCVI).

They will weigh up the levels of immunity granted by the extra jab as well as hospitalisation figures, The Telegraph reported.

Those with weakened immune systems are already entitled to a fourth jab but the elderly and other vulnerable groups could soon be included. 

The fourth jab would likely come four months after the third if it gets the green light and could be available in the new year. 

Professor Anthony Harnden, deputy chair of the JCVI, said: ‘We need to see more data. We are in different circumstances to Israel and we need to see more data on waning immunity and vaccine effectiveness against hospitalisation.’

An Israeli health expert, who is sharing findings with the UK, said they are already seeing waning immunity from the third jab, prompting the extra round of vaccinations. 

Israel announced today citizens over the age of 60 and medical teams would be eligible for a fourth Covid vaccine shot.

‘The world will follow in our footsteps,’ Prime Minister Naftali Bennett tweeted. 

Bennett, who has sought to drum up higher Israeli turnout for vaccines, welcomed the decision as ‘great news that will help us overcome the Omicron wave that is spreading around the world’.

The Israeli government moved quickly against Omicron, barring foreigners from entering on November 25 and expanding a list of high-risk countries to which its citizens should not travel to include the United States this week.

Covid hospitlisations  also rose, by a fifth in a week to 1,004, the first time this figure has breached a thousand since early November. 

Deaths from the virus remained steady at 147, but this, as well as hospitilsiations, are a lagging indicator because of the time it takes for someone who catches the virus to fall severely ill.  

Today’s figures came after Sajid Javid hailed ‘encouraging’ evidence that the mutant strain is milder than Delta amid hopes a New Year lockdown can be avoided. 

The Health Secretary said the emerging findings on severity were ‘encouraging’ after Downing Street confirmed that there will be no more announcements on toughening rules until next week.

But Mr Javid stressed that the rapid spread of the variant will still pose a serious threat and huge numbers of cases would mean ‘significant hospitalisations’.  

Mr Johnson is leaving Britons in peace for a few days while cautioning them ‘to take extra care to protect yourselves and your families’ during festive gatherings.

However, with more critical evidence on the variant due later, ministers are once again caught between the demands of scientific and medical advisors for caution, and businesses and Tories who want to keep the economy running.

MPs and the hospitality industry are calling for immediate clarity that there will not be more restrictions over the New Year period – which could be make or break for many bars and restaurants after a wave of cancellations in recent weeks.

Meanwhile, scientists have cautioned that Omicron still poses a serious threat to the NHS because it is so fast-spreading. Professor Andrew Hayward, a SAGE member, warned this morning that the picture is unclear for elderly people and pressure on the NHS is ‘just going to get worse’.

There has been speculation that the prime minister could stop short of a confrontation with his lockdown-sceptic MPs – and ministers – by issuing guidance rather than bringing in legal curbs. 

Even if a Parliament recall was announced on Boxing Day it would still be difficult to conduct a vote and then bring in further curbs before the end of the week. 

Professor Lockdown Neil Ferguson — who just last week warned there could be up to 5,000 daily Omicron deaths in the UK — said the country’s fourth wave will be ‘nothing like what we seen last year, with ICUs overflowing with patients’ on the back of the new findings.

His team at Imperial College London found that overall, Britons who catch Omicron are between 15 and 20 per cent less likely to be admitted than those who get Delta.

But the real-world analysis, of more than 300,000 people between December 1 and 14, found the chance of having to stay in the NHS overnight was even lower, with a reduced risk of between 40 and 45 per cent. 

The findings are believed to have contributed to Mr Johnson holding off Christmas restrictions despite record case numbers — with 106,122 positive tests reported yesterday.

Two-thirds of new Covid hospital patients in England only tested positive AFTER being admitted for a different illness 

 Two-thirds of new Covid hospital patients in England were actually admitted for a different ailment, MailOnline’s analysis of NHS data suggests – as a growing number of studies show Omicron is much milder than Delta.

In the two weeks to December 21, hospitals in England recorded 563 new coronavirus inpatients — the majority of which are believed to be Omicron now that the variant is the country’s dominant stain.

But just 197 (35 per cent) were being primarily treated for Covid, with the remaining 366 (65 per cent) only testing positive after being admitted for something else.

Experts told MailOnline it was important to distinguish between admissions primarily for Covid so that rising numbers do not spook ministers into more social restrictions or scare the public from going to hospital. 

England’s incidental hospital cases are being driven by London, which has become the UK’s Omicron hotspot and where admissions have been rising sharply.

Just over four in 10 new Omicron hospital patients in London were admitted for a different ailment, MailOnline’s analysis suggests. 

There were 523 more ‘Covid admissions’ resulting in an overnight stay in the two weeks to December 21, after Omicron became dominant in the capital earlier this month. 

Admission rates for Covid in the capital are one factor ministers are keeping an eye on before potentially pulling the trigger on more curbs because London is considered to be a few weeks ahead of the rest of the country in its Omicron outbreak.

Venues are desperate to know whether they will be allowed to open on what is a crucial day of trading, especially after weeks of devastation caused by the Omicron variant.

Mr Javid said the early findings on severity were ‘good, that’s encouraging news’. But he stressed it was ‘not very clear’ how much milder the variant is yet. 

‘We do know with Omicron that it does spread a lot more quickly, it is a lot more infectious than Delta, so any advantage gained from reduced risk of hospitalisation needs to be set against that.

‘If a much smaller percentage of people are at risk of hospitalisation, if that is a smaller percentage of a much larger number, there could still be significant hospitalisation.’

Mr Javid confirmed the government is not planning any further announcements this week.

‘Despite the caution that we are all taking, people should enjoy their Christmases with their families and their friends – of course, remain cautious,’ he said.

‘We will keep the situation under review. We are learning more all the time as we have done from this new data.

‘We will keep analysing that data and if we need to do anything more we will, but nothing more is going to happen before Christmas.’  

The wait-and-seen approach in England contrasts sharply with the rest of the UK, with tensions rising between Westminster and the devolved administrations over funding for bailouts. 

Wales has banned large New Year’s Eve celebrations and said nightclubs must close. In Scotland, hospitality has been hampered by rules which limit serving alcohol to table service only from December 27.

And in Northern Ireland, Stormont ministers agreed a series of restrictions due to come into force on Boxing Day, including the closure of nightclubs, and guidance to limit contacts with different households. 

Welsh economy minister Vaughan Gething said he did not believe Mr Johnson would be able to hold out ‘for very much longer’. 

In other Covid news a MailOnline analysis revealed that two-thirds of new Covid hospital patients in England were actually admitted for a different ailment.

In the two weeks to December 21, hospitals in England recorded 563 new coronavirus inpatients — the majority of which are believed to be Omicron now that the variant is the country’s dominant stain.

But just 197 (35 per cent) were being primarily treated for Covid, with the remaining 366 (65 per cent) only testing positive after being admitted for something else.

Experts told MailOnline it was important to distinguish between admissions primarily for Covid so that rising numbers do not spook ministers into more social restrictions or scare the public from going to hospital. 

England’s incidental hospital cases are being driven by London, which has become the UK’s Omicron hotspot and where admissions have been rising sharply.

Just over four in 10 new Omicron hospital patients in London were admitted for a different ailment, MailOnline’s analysis suggests. 

There were 523 more ‘Covid admissions’ resulting in an overnight stay in the two weeks to December 21, after Omicron became dominant in the capital earlier this month. 

Admission rates for Covid in the capital are one factor ministers are keeping an eye on before potentially pulling the trigger on more curbs because London is considered to be a few weeks ahead of the rest of the country in its Omicron outbreak.

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