NHS in new booster jab drive sending 650,000 text messages

On Monday, NHS staff administered 244,078 vaccinations, including 209,626 boosters

Grace Almond
Wednesday 29 December 2021 11:37
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The NHS has ramped up their push to get Covid booster jabs into arms to protect against the highly transmissible Omicron variant.

The NHS is sending around 650,000 text messages and 50,000 letters to those who have not yet received their booster dose, encouraging them to book an appointment and have a “jabby new year”.

The move comes as cases rose to a record number on Tuesday, with 129,471 reported in England and Wales, and separate figures showing another 9,360 cases in Scotland.

Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland have implemented further measures to curb the spread of Covid-19, including limits on the size of live public events for three weeks in Scotland, and the closure of nightclubs in Northern Ireland.

England is yet to introduce harsher restrictions to combat the wave of infections, opting for a rapid roll-out of the vaccination programme, and mandatory face coverings, instead.

On Tuesday, Health Secretary Sajid Javid said that he “cannot see how restricting outdoor exercise is justified or proportionate” after Parkrun cancelled its free, 5k runs in Wales as the country’s restrictions prevent gatherings of more than 50 people.

Scotland’s First Minister, Nicola Sturgeon, is due to address the recalled Scottish Parliament on Wednesday. She has urged people in Scotland to follow the new rules, including restrictions on mixing between households.

The latest figures show 9,546 people have been admitted to hospital in England with the disease, marking a 38 per cent week-on-week increase, and the highest total since the beginning of March.

Research from the Intensive Care National Audit and Research Centre found that, at the start of last month, three in five Covid patients in intensive care in London had not been vaccinated.

NHS national medical director Professor Stephen Powis, said the figures showed the importance of getting fully vaccinated: “While that does not necessarily tell us exactly what is going on in hospitals now, it tallies with what we are hearing from staff on the frontline,” he said.

He added: “Getting vaccinated... means that you are much less likely to end up in a hospital bed that could otherwise be used to treat someone else.”

On Monday, NHS staff administered 244,078 vaccinations, including 209,626 boosters.

The latest Government figures show 51 million people in the UK have had their first dose of the vaccine, and more than 32 million have had their third.

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