Half a million booster jabs given out in one day as UK battles Omicron

14 December 2021, 16:32 | Updated: 15 December 2021, 07:52

Brits have queued for hours for their booster vaccine dose
Brits have queued for hours for their booster vaccine dose. Picture: Alamy

By Will Taylor

More than half a million booster jabs were given on Monday as the UK ramps up its “national mission” to fight against the Omicron variant.

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Government figures show a day-on-day rise of 513,722 jabs after the country's Covid alert level rose to its second-highest - level four.

Meanwhile, in a bid to speed up the time it takes to get doses in arms, the 15-minute post-vaccination wait will also be scrapped for anyone who gets Pfizer or Moderna.

People had usually been asked to stay behind after a jab to make sure they didn’t suffer a rare allergic reaction.

But that has been dropped after huge queues built up outside vaccine centres on Sunday – demonstrating Britons’ determination to protect themselves from the Omicron variant.

It comes after Boris Johnson announced the Omicron Emergency Boost in a speech to the nation on Sunday, describing it as a "national mission unlike anything we have seen before in the vaccination programme".

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

Read more: All countries removed from red list as travel measures 'less effective' stopping Omicron arriving

"No-one should be in any doubt: there is a tidal wave of Omicron coming, and I'm afraid it is now clear that two doses of vaccine are simply not enough to give the level of protection we all need," he said.

"But the good news is that our scientists are confident that with a third dose – a booster dose – we can all bring our level of protection back up.

Figures on Tuesday showed that 24 million boosters and third doses – with the latter referring to jabs for the immunocompromised – have been given out so far.

That represented a rise of 513,722 from Sunday.

In total, more than 51 million first doses have been distributed, as have 46 million second jabs.

Meanwhile, the chief medical officers from all four countries said the move to scrap the 15-minute post-vaccine wait is a "temporary measure on the grounds of public health need to protect as many citizens as possible over a short period of time".

"The 15-minute wait should therefore be suspended for first, second and homologous or heterologous boost vaccinations with mRNA vaccine given the current situation, with this operationalised in line with the needs in each of the four nations," the chiefs said.

"The long-term decisions on the 15-minute wait, when the current need for extreme speed of vaccination and boosting is over, should rest with the Commission on Human Medicines (CHM), the Medicines and Healthcare products Regulatory Agency (MHRA) and the Joint Committee on Vaccination and Immunisation (JCVI)."