THOUSANDS more Brits were yesterday urged to sign up to The Sun’s Jabs Army to help deliver Covid vaccination boosters in time for Christmas.
The Duchess of Cornwall and Boris Johnson encouraged our drive to recruit 30,000 volunteers — amid fears the country may already be seeing 200,000 infections a day as the Omicron mutation grows.
The Sun is recruiting 30,000 to help turbocharge the national mission to drive down the Covid variant and save Christmas.
The renewed drive comes after Britain suffered its first Omicron death yesterday and No10 said vaccination centres will be open at later hours — and even jab people on Christmas Day — in an all-out bid to beat the virus.
Camilla — who is president of our Jabs Army partner, the Royal Voluntary Service — told The Sun: “Thanks to the combined efforts of so many, our country was the first in the world to begin vaccinating its people.
“Now we are faced with this new variant, I know that, once again, the wonderful Royal Voluntary Service and the Jabs Army will pull together so that we are all protected through the booster jab. You make us proud — and give us hope for brighter days ahead.”
The call comes amid a scramble to get an all-important third dose.
Yesterday, so many Brits tried to book a vaccine that the Government website crashed. More than 600,000 slots were believed to have been snapped up, with 15 bookings per second at its peak.
People waited for up to six hours in long snaking queues outside walk-in vaccination centres.
Meanwhile, the NHS ran out of its daily allotment of free lateral flow tests because so many people had ordered them online.
The Prime Minister — who visited a vaccination centre in Westminster, central London, yesterday — vowed to turn the vaccine programme up to “warp speed”.
Writing in The Sun today, he urges Brits to give the whole country the “most amazing” Christmas gift by joining the Jabs Army.
Downing Street is deploying the military to spearhead the booster programme, with 750 soldiers and planners being brought in to help.
Thousands of health workers are being taken off their normal duties and sent to the jabs frontline.
Round-the-clock vaccination sites are being launched as the country races to offer a booster to all over-18s by the end of December. Mass sites are re-opening with booster shots available at the Science Museum and Chester Cathedral.
Pop-up clinics — including Wembley Stadium, Stamford Bridge, Twickenham Stoop Stadium, Jaguar Land Rover Solihull and the East London Mosque — will allow walk-ins to get their third dose.
The PM warned super-infectious Omicron is “spreading very fast” and will be the dominant strain in London by the end of today.
On ramping up the vaccine programme, he added: “We now want to hit warp speed. And we’ll have to attain a pace and a number of daily booster doses that will exceed anything that we’ve done before.” Around one million jabs a day will have to be doled out to hit the target. The UK’s record for daily vaccines is 845,000, set in March.
Health Secretary Sajid Javid dropped a massive hint that he will scrap the need for people to wait 15 minutes after their jab in case they have an allergic reaction.
The move would help speed up the number of daily vaccinations.
The big push comes after it emerged ten people were already in the hospital with Omicron. They were aged between 18 and 85, with the majority double-jabbed.
Labour’s new health chief Wes Streeting backed the booster campaign. He told the Commons: “The target of getting one million people a day their booster vaccine is unprecedented and it may even prove impossible, but we applaud the ambition. If anyone can do it, the NHS can.”
But some angry MPs accused ministers of being asleep at the wheel and said the massive ramping-up of jabs should have happened months ago.
Tory big gun David Davis said: “Covid infection rates took off in late September. Death rates took off in October. Why weren’t we doing this in September?”
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🔵 Read our Covid-19 live blog for the latest updates
HOW TO JOIN
VOLUNTEERS can register online at nhsvolunteerresponders.org.uk or by scanning the QR code above with your smartphone.
You will be asked to download the GoodSAM Responder app, which will match you to a role.
You need commit to only two six-hour shifts a month at a jabs centre. Your expenses will be covered and no experience or qualifications are needed.
You will be in a team with NHS staff and volunteers. The Royal Voluntary Service will make appropriate background checks.
GO TO: nhsvolunteerresponders.org.uk
No GP visits till New Year
GPs have been told to ditch routine appointments and help vaccinate a million people a day against Covid.
Only patients with cancer scares or requiring critical care can see a family doctor before January.
But senior Kent GP Dr Stephanie de Giorgio tweeted: “GPs cannot be expected to just stop it all because of poor government planning.”
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