About 17 million eligible for Covid booster, figures suggest

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An estimated 17 million people in England are eligible to have their Covid booster jabs, figures suggest.

In a televised address on Sunday, Prime Minister Boris Johnson said everyone over 18 in England “will have the chance to get their booster before the new year”.

More than 40% of UK adults have already had a booster vaccination, but Mr Johnson moved his target forward by a month in a bid to head off the worst effects of the Omicron variant.

With 18 days left until the end of the year – including Christmas Day and Boxing Day – this means the NHS will have to administer more than 965,000 jabs a day to give boosters to everyone currently eligible.

The highest number of vaccinations reported in one day in the UK was 844,285 on March 20, according to the Government’s coronavirus dashboard.

Downing Street has said that people will be able to get their booster on Christmas Day.

The Prime Minister’s official spokesman said: “My understanding is that there will be appointments available on Christmas Day, and obviously the NHS will monitor what the demand is.

“There was, for example last year, the NHS was open for vaccinations on Christmas Day, which we didn’t see a huge demand (for) on Christmas Day.”

But he added: “Should individuals wish to come forward, we will make sure there is capacity.”

Coronavirus graphic
(PA Graphics)

Over-30s can already book a booster online and from Wednesday this will be extended to over-18s.

NHS England figures show that up to September 11, some 36.8 million people had received a second dose of coronavirus vaccine.

So based on the most recent figures, which show that 19.4 million boosters had been given up to December 11, this leaves an estimated 17.4 million people who have had two doses and are now eligible for a third.

However, it is not clear how many of these people will not be eligible at the moment because they have recently caught Covid.

Those people cannot receive a third jab until 28 days after first showing symptoms or receiving their positive test result.

The number of second doses also includes 175,013 under-18s who are not eligible for a booster unless they have a health condition that puts them at high risk from Covid-19.

The booster figure also includes third primary doses for people with a severely weakened immune system, who can get a further booster jab three months after this as well.

So it is not clear how many people who have had a third dose are now eligible for a booster fourth dose.

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