Calls to scrap 28-day wait between Covid infection and jab

Is Boris’ New Year booster goal a bust? UK now needs to jab 2.1m people a day after missing 1m target for a week straight and 28-day delay after catching Covid means hundreds of thousands are being made ineligible every week

  • UK still has 26m adults needing boosters, meaning we need to up to 2.1m per day
  • But Government is struggling to even deliver on its promise of 1m daily doses 
  • And a surge in Omicron means 800k Britons can not get a booster for 28 days

The UK’s goal to get every adult a Covid booster before the end of 2021 is slipping away with Britain now needing to boost 2.1million people per day to reach the target.

Boris Johnson pledged to massively ramp up the UK’s Covid booster rollout to deliver 1million jabs a day in an effort to stave off an Omicron wave and save the country from further restrictions.

Launching what he described as the ‘Omicron Emergency Boost’, Mr Johnson said at the time: ‘We’ll need to match the NHS’s best vaccination day yet – and then beat it day after day’

But since the Prime Minister promised to increase the drive from December 13th, the number of third Covid jabs delivered has continually failed to reach this 1million daily target.

Despite ministers boasting that booster numbers reached a record 900,000 this weekend, which itself is still 100,000 off target, on average 642,735 daily jabs have been delivered since Mr Johnson’s pledge, far below the 1million promised. 

And with a total of 28million boosters administered as of Saturday, the latest available data, there are still 26million people waiting to get a jab.

This means Britain needs to more than double its booster numbers to 2.1million every day, including on Christmas Day and Boxing Day to achieve end of year deadline. 

It comes as the number of people eligible for a booster shot is starting to shrink as Covid cases grow rapidly due to the highly infectious Omicron variant. 

NHS Covid vaccination guidelines state that people who catch Covid must wait 28-days from their positive test or first symptom before they can get the jab.

People queuing up to get a Covid booster today in Edinburgh, while more and more people are rolling up their sleeves to get their third jab the UK’s rollout is still lagging behind the stated goal of 1million jabs a day

Data shows the Government has continually failed to hit the 1million jabs a day mark, and will now need to more than double it to 2.1million per day if it wants to provide every eligible adult a booster by the New Year. 

Ministers are considering slashing the quarantine period for people who test positive for Covid from ten to seven days.

As reported in Saturday’s Daily Mail, health experts, MPs and business leaders have called for a change, warning that the current rules risk crippling healthcare and the economy.

Anyone who is infected with the virus must isolate for ten days after first developing symptoms or testing positive. 

But the ‘blunt tool’ fails to account for infectiousness and is fuelling ‘lockdown by stealth’ by keeping so many people at home.

The aim of this four week wait is so to avoid any confusion between any potential vaccine side effects and Covid symptoms.  

It also means that the number of people who are increasingly catching Omicron can no longer receive a booster as this 28-day waiting period will now mean they can’t get vaccinated until January.  

Under the 28-day wait rule between infection and getting a Covid jab the last day someone could catch Covid and still be eligible for a booster on news year eve was December 3.  

According to Government data this means 994,926 people who have caught Covid in that time would be effectively ineligible for a booster.

It’s not clear how many of these are already boosted, however. 

While this data might include a small number of people who may already have had a booster, as wells as children over the age of 12 who are still getting their second dose, the vast majority are estimated to be adults over the age of 20.

The UK Health Security Authority’s latest report suggests that 82 per cent of people who tested positive for Covid at the start of December were over 20-years-old, indicating that about 818,824 adults are now ineligible for the booster. 

Based on the most recent UK Covid cases data which starts to account for the surge in Omicron cases the UK is experiencing, with 547,606 cases between December 13-19, about 450,000 adults could be becoming ineligible for the booster every week. 

The number of confirmed cases of Omicron in England increased by 69 per cent on the previous day’s total – up 9,427 to 23,168, figures from the UKHSA showed today

Even if half of these were boosted, with 48.8 per cent of the adult population having received a third dose, this still leaves more than 200,000 unable to get a booster this month.

The figures come as health secretary Sajid Javid hit out at people who have chosen not to be vaccinated against Covid as they ‘take up hospital beds’ that could be used for patients in need.

Mr Javid said those who are eligible for a jab but have decided not to take up the offer, are having a ‘damaging impact’ on others.

He said 10 per cent of the eligible population – more than five million people – still had not received their jabs, and around nine out of 10 of those needing the most care in hospital were unvaccinated.

Speaking on Trevor Phillips On Sunday on Sky News, he said: ‘I just cannot emphasise enough the impact that they are having on the rest of society.

‘They must really think about the damage they are doing to society by… they take up hospital beds that could have been used for someone with maybe a heart problem, or maybe someone who is waiting for elective surgery.

‘But instead of protecting themselves and protecting the community they choose not to get vaccinated.

‘They are really having a damaging impact and I just can’t stress enough, please do come forward and get vaccinated.’

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