Covid latest: Second call to arms for vaccine volunteers

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To “ramp up” the vaccine rollout and hit his target of inoculating a million Britons a day, the Prime Minister asked for tens of thousands of people to sign up. He said: “Please come forward if you can.”

Mr Johnson spoke out after confirming the first death in the UK of a patient infected with the ultra-transmissible Omicron coronavirus mutation.

He also declined to rule out further restrictions before Christmas to curb its spread.

Data yesterday showed Omicron cases have doubled in the UK in 24 hours and account for 40 per cent of new infections in London.

The Prime Minister said: “As part of our Get Boosted Now vaccination drive we need to increase our jabbing capacity.

“But to achieve something on this scale, we need your help. So today I’m issuing a call for volunteers to join our national mission to get jabs in arms.

“We need tens of thousands of people to help out – everyone from trained vaccinators to stewards.

“Many thousands have already given their time – but we need you to come forward again, to work alongside our brilliant GPs, doctors, nurses and pharmacists, to deliver jabs and save lives.” During a visit to a vaccine centre in London yesterday, Mr Johnson said: “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 we’ve done before.

“What I can definitely tell you, is that the best thing we can do to protect ourselves, protect our country, and ensure that we have as normal Christmas as possible is to get boosted now.”

Asked to rule out further restrictions on top of his “Plan B”, including compulsory masks in most indoor settings, he said: “Throughout the pandemic, I’ve been at great pains to stress to the public that we have to watch where the pandemic is going and take whatever steps are necessary to protect public health.

“We think that’s the steps that we’re taking, so Plan B combined with a huge, hugely ambitious acceleration of the booster campaign. I’ve got no doubt at all that we have the people, we have the enthusiasm, we have the fundamental optimism about what we can do, which we’ve learned from the experience of the last 18 months.And I know that people are gonna rise to this.”

NHS Chief Executive Amanda Pritchard said: “Since we first issued a call to arms we have had an outstanding response but Omicron has shifted the goalposts and we are now renewing our plea – I urge anyone who volunteered in the past, or considered it but did not taken up the opportunity, to come forward – search ‘NHS vaccine team’ today and find out more about how you can help us save lives.”

Downing Street insisted there would be sufficient supplies of the vaccines to speed up the booster jab delivery.

People will even be able to get their booster dose of the coronavirus vaccine on Christmas Day, the Prime Minister’s spokesman said.

Ministry of Defence chiefs said that about 750 servicemen and women will help deliver jabs and co-ordinate the rollout.

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