Huge demand for Covid boosters as all adults in England become eligible

13 December 2021, 20:06 | Updated: 13 December 2021, 20:16

By Emma Soteriou

Thousands formed queues for their booster jab on Monday after Boris Johnson called for a national effort to jab all adults in England.

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The step up in the race against the Omicron variant's spread saw people gather at sites such as St Thomas' Hospital in London, with hopes of getting their third jabs as soon as possible.

It came as Mr Johnson brought forward the booster rollout to include all adults from Monday - a target that was initially in place for the end of January.

As protection from the first two Covid vaccines begins to wane, the Government has said the third jab will give the added protection needed to fight off Omicron, which has been discovered to be more transmissible.

Swathes of people answered the call to get their booster dose as soon as they can - with one group telling LBC they were wanting to protect themselves ahead of Christmas, and one person saying she had booked the whole day off to get her jab.

"I just want to see my parents for Christmas," Misha, who queued up with Darcy, said.

She added: "For peace of mind really – my parents aren't that old but I might as well if I don't have anything to do today."

Read more: Home Covid tests unavailable and NHS jab booking system crashes amid new rules

Read more: Health Sec warns of 'race against Omicron' as booster jabs offered to all adults

Meanwhile, Sophie - from Germany - was told the wait would be "a couple of hours at least" but cancelled her whole day of plans, determined to get the booster.

"I took the whole day off just to make sure that no matter how long the waiting time is I'll be able to get it in the end," she said.

"I'm prepared to wait the whole day, the only thing I don't want is waiting and then not getting one. But they've assured us that they think it’s going to be ok and they will not run out of doses, which is reassuring."

Dave and Gill, who also visited the Leeds centre at Elland Road, felt positive about the booster jab rollout.

"[The NHS has] done some great work getting their systems up and available to everyone to book their boosters – great work," she said.

Dave added: "I think everyone's got a duty, not only to themselves but to their families and the whole of the nation, to get themselves vaccinated and boosted as soon as possible and everyone in the NHS is working really hard to make that happen. Do your bit and get yourself boosted."

Read more: At least one person has died with Omicron, PM confirms

Jayne, who also visited Elland Road vaccination centre, booked her booster before the announcement on Sunday evening.

However, the rush of people meant she faced an hour of delays when visiting the site.

"We were queuing for ages, it wasn't seamless, but they seem to have the process right, there's just so many people they can’t cope," Jayne said.

"When I got there, there was no queue to get in, the queues were all inside. But as I've left, the queues are down the road.

"I don't think they've got enough people inside for the amount of people turning up for their boosters."

She added: "There's definitely something slightly wrong going on inside but I think it's just the volume of people coming in for their boosters after the announcement."