- Amanda Pritchard warns complacency was to blame for low booster jab uptake
- The head of the NHS says nearly two million more than 50 will be invited to their
- Weekly Covid cases increased by 16 per cent with 43,748 cases reported yesterday alone
- 223 deaths were recorded yesterday, highest daily in last seven months
NHS chief Amanda Pritchard warns complacency among older patients is to blame for UK’s slow Covid booster rollout
The head of the NHS said yesterday, complacency among older patients is to blame for the slow Covid booster rollout.
Amanda Pritchard insists there is ‘no delay in sending invitations’ and that nearly 50 million more people will be invited this week.
She continued: ‘While it’s great that people are coming forward…
‘It’s really important that we now fully convey the message that covid is still with us, it’s serious, boosters really do make a difference in boosting immunity.’
A further 223 deaths were announced yesterday – the highest daily in seven months.
There has been a 16 per cent increase in weekly coronavirus cases with another 43,748 reported yesterday alone. They are also being admitted to the hospital.
According to the Daily Telegraph, two-thirds of residents in care have not yet received a booster jab, despite the government setting a November 1 deadline.
And Professor Martin Marshall, president of the Royal College of GPs, said that ‘substantial GP vaccination centers have closed’ to allow doctors to deal with the backlog of treatments.
He said ease of access was a factor behind the slow rollout of booster jabs and first doses for children.
The chief executive of the NHS Confederation said the system was ‘on edge’ and a ‘plan B plus’ was needed.
Matthew Taylor told The Guardian: ‘We should try to achieve the kind of national mobilization that we achieved in the first and second waves.’
Mr Taylor said this could include encouraging the public to use the NHS responsibly, volunteer, seek neighbors or even re-enter the health workforce.
He added: ‘We need a similar feeling of being pulled together to try to avoid risky behavior over the next few months.
‘It’s not a question that if we don’t do this, something can happen.
‘If we don’t do that, it would be a miracle for us not to find ourselves in the middle of a really serious crisis in our health and social care systems.’
The new version is ‘more contagious than the Delta’
A new Covid variant is spreading and could fuel a surge in cases.
Named AY4.2, the strain is an offshoot of the delta variant and is currently seen in about one in ten Covid cases.
It accounted for just 4 per cent of UK infections in mid-September, but had doubled to almost 10 per cent by the first week of October.
Scientists say it is ‘constantly increasing’ in numbers and appears to be 10 percent more contagious than the original Delta version.
A report by the Health Protection Agency said that it has been seen in almost every part of England.
Downing Street said it is keeping a close eye on the variant, but there isn’t enough evidence to prove it spreads more easily.
Despite the rising number of cases, the Sage Scientific Advisory Committee is meeting only once a month when it used to do so weekly.
Sajid Javid admitted yesterday that the NHS is facing a ‘particularly difficult’ winter. Raising the prospect of a return to Covid restrictions, the health secretary told lawmakers that there was too much pressure on hospitals and too few staff to answer the 999 calls.
He said: ‘Winters are usually tough for the NHS but this winter is going to be particularly difficult. As the pandemic continues, this flu season will be particularly difficult.’
Boris Johnson has set out a ‘plan B’ for further restrictions – including mandatory masks, vaccine passports and working from home.
This is likely to be applicable if the hospital admissions are above 1,000 in a day in a row.
Yesterday’s figure was 921, up from 780 a week ago.
The PM’s spokesperson said: ‘We have seen an increase in case rates, we have started to see some signs that hospitalization and death rates are also increasing.
“We are keeping a very close watch on the rate of rising cases.
‘The most important message to understand is the vital importance of the booster program and really to the kids who are deserving to come forward and get our jabs.’
England is one of the few countries in Europe that has completely phased out all legal coronavirus restrictions such as masks.
Later this week the government will launch a promotional campaign to promote the booster.
The latest Office for National Statistics data shows that nearly one in ten children aged 12 to 15 have the virus. Whereas in England only 15 percent of the qualified students got the job.
Lawmakers yesterday extended Covid emergency powers for another six months. Mr Javid told the Commons the measures were ‘still necessary and proportionate’.
Record 111,000 students drop out as cases rise
A record 111,000 students with Covid were absent last week, as cases nearly doubled since the start of the outbreak in schools.
Official figures show an increase of 9,000 a fortnight and 52,000 a month, as most of the school-age population has not been vaccinated.
In some areas the take-up of jobs among 12 to 15-year-olds is just 5 percent.
Unions last night called for more restrictions, including forcing siblings of infected children to self-isolate.
Some 209,000 – 2.6 per cent of all students – were absent for Covid-related reasons last Thursday, with 111,000 confirmed cases.
Among teachers, 1.3 percent were absent with one confirmed case.
Geoff Barton of the ASCL union said: ‘The increase in staff absenteeism may seem partial but the reality is it is now causing a real headache.’