COVID-19 booster bookings go through the roof as 110,000 people get appointment by 9am

More than 110,000 people booked their life-saving COVID-19 booster jab before 9am this morning, the NHS has said.

Speaking today, NHS chief executive Amanda Pritchard said that the online site was already seeing record demand for bookings as the vaccination programme ramps up in a race to protect the nation against the Omicron variant.

It comes as the biggest and fastest vaccine programme in NHS history recorded more than 800,000 boosters over the weekend, compared to around 635,000 jabs the weekend before. And Saturday was a record day with 483,000 top ups reported.

The national booking service opened to all those aged 30 and over this morning and by 9am, there were 110,000 bookings.

Almost 750,000 people had already snapped up a COVID booster appointment over a record weekend, with 426,000 bookings made yesterday and a further 323,000 slots taken on Saturday.

The NHS is prioritising bookings for boosters and is urging people to book a slot to guarantee their vital jab. Some vaccination sites may offer a walk-in service for 18s and over from today if they have spare capacity.

As the most complex and challenging phase of the rollout expands even further and faster, the NHS has asked every local area to dramatically increase the number of appointments they have in place for vaccinations.

NHS chief executive Amanda Pritchard said: “It is fantastic to see so many people respond to our national mission to offer all adults the chance to get boosted by the end of the year with more than 110,000 booking their jab by 9am this morning.

“As the NHS rallies to protect the country against the Omicron variant, we need to see the same levels of enthusiasm as we vaccinate the country at speed – so please don’t delay, come forward and book in for your booster today.

“The NHS has already stepped up to the mark and delivered the fastest and most successful vaccination programme in health service history and staff are once again doing everything possible to increase the number of appointments available every day.

“The best way to get your vaccine is by booking online or by calling 119 – please do keep checking availability as we load more appointments onto the system every day”.

This week opening hours for vaccine centres will be extended and every area of the country should have centres available that are open seven days a week.

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 shopping centres to sports stadiums and leisure centres.

There are already almost 3,000 sites across the country – more than at any point of the NHS COVID-19 vaccination rollout. Even more new sites will go live throughout the week and dozens of new sites are available from today in the Midlands alone.

NHS staff are being redeployed so that they can focus on protecting the entire country as quickly as possible and military aid will be in place in every region across the country to support NHS staff with planning for the extra vaccinations.

NHS chiefs are urging people to not delay their booster and book their jab in the run up to the Christmas break.

The NHS has advised that the best way to get your booster quickly is by booking online or by calling 119 but if walk in centres have capacity to do so, they can vaccinate adults aged 18 and over immediately.