Politics

‘Supercharge booster vaccines,’ NHS boss Vin Diwakar pleads, as London cases rise



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health chief has called for the jabs race to be “supercharged” to get more people protected against Covid-19 as bookings for boosters were opened to those in their forties.

Dr Vin Diwakar, medical director for the NHS in London, issued the appeal as official figures showed there have been 18,049 confirmed coronavirus cases in the capital in just four days.

There were 4,536 announced yesterday and it is the first time since late July when daily totals have risen above 4,000 for four consecutive days.

More than 1,489,000 Londoners have already had a booster, or third jab for some vulnerable groups, with uptake understood to be particularly high among people in their seventies and even higher among care home staff.

NHS managers in London are now urgently working to increase the take-up of boosters among younger adults eligible for the jab, those in their fifties and over, and from today 40 to 49-year-olds.

Speaking to the Standard, Dr Diwakar said: “It’s fantastic to see more than a million Londoners have taken up the offer of the booster jab.”

But he also stressed: “We’re in a crucial period in the run-up to the festive season and colder weeks — this is the time to supercharge our efforts and we’d love to see as many Londoners as possible get extra protection from a booster ahead of winter.” As he issued the appeal:

Cabinet minister Nadhim Zahawi told LBC Radio: “We will probably, I hope, without being complacent, be the first major economy in the world to demonstrate how you transition this virus from pandemic to endemic using vaccines.” He suggested that from next year coronavirus would be treated like flu with an annual vaccination.

Health chiefs are seeking to deliver jabs at “hyper local” level, in libraries, shopping centres and vaccine buses to reach Londoners yet to have any inoculation against coronavirus.

Second doses of the Covid-19 vaccine are being offered to 16-17-year-olds who are not in a Covid-19 at-risk group.



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