The NHS dished out its 100millionth coronavirus vaccine in England today, on the anniversary of the day the rollout first began.
NHS England praised the ‘outstanding’ efforts of staff and volunteers for working through ‘adverse weather, bank holiday weekends and festive occasions’.
It said the inoculation program has prevented nearly 130,000 deaths and 24million infections since it started on December 8 last year.
Some 118.6million jabs have been dished out across the UK in total, with more than 20.9million boosters given out to the most vulnerable in society so far.
Maggie Keenan — the 91-year-old grandmother who received the first approved jab in the world — today encouraged anyone who has not yet had a dose to come forward.
She recently had her third booster dose as well as a flu jab and said she ‘felt great’ after the vaccines, adding ‘everybody should have the jab’.
Ministers have promised to put the booster programme ‘on steroids’ in the face of Omicron, with every adult set to be offered a dose by the end of January as long as they received their second dose at least three months previously.
It was opened up to over-40s today, with No10 targeting Christmas shoppers with ‘booster buses’ to speed up uptake in the fight against the super-mutant variant.
But the roll-out has been plagued with problems since it started, with several Brits in their forties struggling to book their jab today.
Experts say booster jabs should help to shield the NHS over the coming months.
Maggie Keenan — the 91-year-old grandmother who received the first approved jab in the world (pictured getting the dose on December 8 last year at University Hospital, Coventry) — today encouraged anyone who has not yet had a dose to come forward
Just a FIFTH of over-50s in inner-city areas have already had a top-up vaccine
England’s Covid booster vaccine divide was laid bare today, with official figures revealing just over a fifth of over-50s have already had their top-up jab in parts of the country.
MailOnline analysis shows some districts have dished out third doses to 90 per cent of the most vulnerable adults, who were originally prioritised when the rollout began towards the end of September.
The booster programme was opened up to over-40s who had their second dose three months ago today, with No10 targeting Christmas shoppers with ‘booster buses’ to help speed up uptake.
Ministers have been accused of overseeing a sluggish campaign, especially in the face of the oncoming wave of cases fuelled by the super-mutant Omicron variant.
Experts say booster jabs will shield the NHS over the coming months.
NHS England’s most up-to-date vaccination statistics show thousands of 7,000-plus neighbourhoods dotted across the country have already given third doses to the majority of adults.
But a dozen inner-city areas are massively lagging behind in the roll-out, according to our analysis of the figures.
Just 21 per cent of over-50s in Sparkhill North, a suburb in Birmingham, had received a third jab by November 28. Twelve other areas scattered between Birmingham, Nottingham and Bradford also fall below the 25 per cent mark.
Dr Nikki Kanani, deputy lead for the NHS Covid Vaccination Programme, called on Britons to keep coming forward for their booster doses.
She said: ‘In one year since Maggie Keenan became the first person in the world to receive the Covid vaccine outside of clinical trials, the NHS has delivered an outstanding 100million life-saving doses, preventing at least 24million infections, hundreds of thousands of hospitalisations and almost 130,000 deaths.
‘Over the last 365 days, NHS staff, aided by volunteers, have responded to this once-in-a-generation event by delivering an average of almost 275,000 vaccines every single day — through adverse weather, bank holiday weekends and festive occasions — and this success would not have been achieved without their endless determination and dedication.
‘As new cases of the Omicron variant increase, the NHS has been tasked once again with rising to the challenge and rolling out booster doses to all adults — we have so far delivered around 18million vital top-up doses, and are now calling forward everyone 40 and over who is eligible to book through the National Booking Service as soon as possible to get that vital protection.’
NHS England has also launched a recruitment drive for 10,000 new vaccinators, administration staff, healthcare support workers and volunteers to join the national booster vaccination mission.
And Mrs Keenan said getting her first, second and booster doses has allowed her to have a ‘wonderful year’.
She said: ‘The best Christmas present I could have is being in good health and having had the jab and feeling free from this horrible virus.’
Mrs Keenan spoke at University Hospital Coventry where she received her first vaccine dose on December 8 last year at the start of the mass vaccine rollout.
Describing that moment, Mrs Keenan — a mother-of-two and grandmother-of-four from Coventry in the West Midlands — said: ‘It felt great, honestly, I could not believe that things went so well, afterwards.
‘At the time I wasn’t feeling good but once I got that jab and things started to be better, so I had a wonderful year — thanks to the NHS.’
Speaking about people who have not yet had any jab, she said: ‘It’s amazing how many people don’t want it.
‘I don’t know why because they should have it… everybody should have the jab.
‘I keep saying this over and over again.’