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NHS staff reported hundreds of thousands of life-saving ‘jingle jab’ vaccinations at scores of sites over Christmas Eve, Christmas and Boxing Day.
The NHS Covid vaccination programme, the biggest and most successful in health service history, continued over the festive period in England.
There were more than 12,000 reported vaccinations on Christmas Day, including more than 10,000 top-up doses, and 24,078 on Boxing Day, including 20,278 top-ups.
Taken with new figures from Christmas Eve, a total of 214,000 doses were reported including 184,445 boosters.
The busiest site in the country on Christmas Day was Redbridge Town Hall, where more than 900 people were jabbed.
The NHS vaccination chief praised staff and volunteers for working through Christmas and urged anyone due a jab to take up one of the 1.3 million slots available between now and January 3.
Experts have found that two jabs do not provide the protection we need against the new Omicron strain.
Dr Emily Lawson, head of the NHS COVID vaccination programme, said: “I want to say a huge thank you to all the staff and volunteers who gave up time with their families over Christmas to protect others – as these figures show it was time well spent.
“But if you were too busy shopping, cooking, wrapping or visiting family and friends over Christmas to get a jab please book now.
“There are 1.3 million appointments still available between now and next week so go online and arrange one.
“You won’t need to queue and it is the best way to protect yourself, your family and your friends from Covid.
“We know that two jabs do not provide the protection you need from Omicron so if you are eligible book a booster without delay.”
The NHS made history when Maggie Keenan received the first Pfizer jab outside of clinical trials in December last year.
Since then, the NHS vaccination programme has delivered over 110 million doses, including 27 million boosters.
Redbridge Town Hall in London was the busiest site on Christmas Day, with NHS Christmas heroes delivering 904 vaccinations while also delivering another 817 vaccinations on Boxing Day.
Local community pharmacies Vision Pharmacy in Leicester, and Rusholme Pharmacy in Manchester, were the next busiest sites on Christmas Day delivering 417 and 244 lifesaving vaccines respectively.
In Sussex, a local family of six headed up by chief nursing officer for Sussex CCGs Allison, and Mark, chief executive of South Downs Health and Care GP federation – all volunteered and helped vaccinate over 200 people on Christmas Day.
NHS chief nursing officer Sussex CCG and Christmas Day vaccinator Allison said: “It was fantastic vaccinating people on Christmas Day and over the most wonderful time of the year – the atmosphere on the day was lovely with people really grateful to get the top-up in protection and thankful to NHS staff for giving up their time over Christmas.
“We’re really proud as a family to be taking part in the historic vaccination campaign and helping save lives from coronavirus – there are still more jabs to get into arms though and we will be playing our part by continuing to volunteer as a family, and it is really important the public play their part by coming forward for the vaccine if they haven’t already.”
Dr Seedat, GP and vaccination lead at Redbridge Town Hall, said: “I am delighted that at Redbridge Town Hall we saw the highest number of people in the country come forward for their jab over Christmas and Boxing Day, protecting themselves and their loved ones against Covid, and credit goes to the whole team, especially those working behind the scenes, who gave up their time to make London safer.
“I urge any Londoner who is eligible but yet to come forward for their first, second or booster jab to join those getting vaccinated – book or walk-in to any of the many vaccinations sites across the city today.”
The Jingle Jabs push followed a bumper weekend of 1.5 million top-ups the previous weekend – including 830,000 top-ups reported Saturday 18th December alone – the highest number ever.
Every eligible adult can now book in for their all-important jab online and given some sites remain busy, the NHS is encouraging people to book to guarantee their slot.
Health and Social Care Secretary Sajid Javid said: “It’s thanks to our life-saving vaccines, treatments and testing that we’ve been able to see loved ones over the Christmas weekend.
“The enthusiasm the country has shown for our COVID-19 vaccines has been tremendous, particularly the 214,000 who have gone out of their way this holiday weekend to get their jab and secure protection from the Omicron variant.
“I want to say a big thank you to all the NHS staff and volunteers who worked over the weekend to get jabs in arms. If you’re yet to get your booster, do not delay – get boosted now.”
Throughout December, almost 600,000 (595,173) people have come forward for the vaccine for the first time, as alongside the booster programme the health service continues to deliver the evergreen offer of two initial doses, vaccines for under 18s and third doses for the immunosuppressed.
However, people cannot get vaccinated within 28 days of having had the virus.
More than seven in 10 eligible people aged 18 and over have now received their top up protection against Covid-19 as the NHS booster campaign continues to protect the nation against the virus.
Over half of all people who are eligible in their thirties have also now had their lifesaving booster, with the national booking service opening to this group last week.
First doses reported:
24th December: 10,452
25th December: 955
26th December: 1,809
Second doses recorded:
24th December: 13,540
25th December: 916
26th December: 991
Booster or third jab recorded:
24th December: 153,690
25th December: 10,477
26th December: 20,278
Total vaccinations overall over Christmas Eve, Christmas Day, and Boxing Day: 214,108