1.5 million top-up jabs recorded in NHS ‘blockbooster’ weekend

The NHS in England gave out more than 1.5 million booster jabs over Saturday and Sunday in the biggest weekend for the COVID vaccination programme so far.

With 830,403 top-up doses registered during an all-time record 24 hour period on Saturday and a further 726,195 yesterday, the nation’s top medic hailed people for coming forward to get protected against Omicron and urged the country to ‘keep up the pace’ in booking boosters.

In the week since the Prime Minister declared the fight against Omicron a national mission, NHS staff and volunteers have stepped up and delivered more than 4.6 million doses of the COVID booster vaccine, a full 85% more than the previous seven days.

The NHS has also delivered over one million first and second doses in December so far.

Some 443,919 first doses and 568,129 second doses in December have been delivered as people continue to come forward for their initial jabs with vaccinations offering the best protection against coronavirus.

Professor Stephen Powis, NHS national medical director, said: “We’ve seen a remarkable response from the country in the past week as people surged forward for boosters, and soaring public enthusiasm has been more than matched by NHS staff and volunteer effort, with over 4.6 million boosters given in the past week.

“A record week has been topped off with a blockbooster weekend but the job is not done and my message to the country is keep up the pace in coming forward and booking your top-up, as it’s the best weapon in the arsenal against omicron”.

The 1,556,598 booster doses recorded over Saturday and Sunday far outstrips the next highest delivery weekend, seen on December 11 and 12, with the booster blockbuster 48 hours seeing 90% more top-ups registered.

More than 107 million vaccinations, including more than 24 million boosters, have been delivered since the NHS in England made history when Margaret Keenan received the first jab outside of a clinical trial, in Coventry in December 2020.

The NHS is urging everyone who is eligible – 3 months on from their second jab – to get their booster as soon as possible

Every eligible adult can now book in for their lifesaving jab online and given some sites remain busy, the NHS is encouraging people to book in to guarantee their slot.

Appointments continue to be available over the festive period.

The NHS has outlined detailed plans to accelerate the COVID-19 booster programme with extended opening hours as part of plans to protect the nation against the new Omicron variant.

More pop-up sites will be coming online with local areas looking at the most convenient sites for their communities – from trucks and buses in parks and cathedrals to football stadiums and leisure centres.

There are now around 3,000 sites across the country, which includes double the number of hospitals offering jabs to the public – going from 30 to 71 in two weeks.