As 4,000 new eligible Britons rush to get third doses of the NHS, there are fears that the UK’s booster drive will not keep pace with demand.

The Government’s vaccines advisers today expanded the rollout to everyone aged over 18, meaning a total of 40million people are now eligible for one — but reports on the ground suggest the current drive was already struggling to reach the vulnerable. 

Many people over 40 who are eligible for injections face obstacles, such as long waits, hours spent calling their GP, booking service or being directed to sites tens or hundreds of miles from their home.

The figures show that there is a third less mass vaccination hubs operating than in earlier years, and overwhelmed NHS staff state they may not be able help in getting the jabs to arm due to winter pressures.  

A couple aged 80 said that they had difficulty getting boosters due to confusing information on the NHS website.

On average, there are 2.1million English people getting their booster jab each week. If this trend continues, all adults in England won’t get their boost until February.

The spokesperson for No10 today stated that the company was reviewing the definition of “fully vaccinated”, which allows people to require all three doses, making it possible to consider them properly immunized.  

Britons can be considered ‘fully vaccinated” if they have received their second doses of Moderna, Pfizer, or AstraZeneca at least two weeks prior. 

To be fully immunized, boosters may be required for all adult UK citizens to enter pubs, restaurants and cinemas. This is in addition to working in social or health care. 


Today, the Joint Committee on Vaccination and Immunisation announced that all UK over-18s would be eligible for a third Covid in order to combat the spread of the Omicron variant and increase protection. People were stuck behind thousands in queues on the NHS website after this announcement, prompting thousands to rush to get their shots.

Brian Bull (left), 83, and Jennifer Hodgkinson (right), 79, faced problems getting their boosters because of confusing instructions on the NHS website

Brian Bull, 83 (left) and Jennifer Hodgkinson, 79 (right), had difficulty getting boosters due to confusing instructions on NHS.

An average of 2.1million people in England are getting their booster jab per week, meaning all adults won't be boosted until February 13 if the rollout continues at its current rate

Averaging 2.1million English citizens are receiving their booster jab each week. If this pace continues, all adults will not be boosted by February 13.

Moderna CEO says vaccine antibodies could be EIGHT TIME lower for Omicron variant 

Moderna’s chief executives suggest that the Omicron-resistant Omicron vaccine might not work as well with current Covid vaccinations.

Stephane Bancel stated to CNBC’s Squawk Box, that his company was researching this variant to find out how dangerous it is to Americans.

The new virus might be eight times more resistant to the moderna Covid vaccine.

Last week’s variant is considered to be most dangerous and may allow the virus to escape vaccine protection. 

Mr Bancel said: ‘There are two key things that we don’t know yet and will find out in [coming] weeks.

“One” is vaccine effectiveness. We should find out in two weeks what the effect of the new vaccine variant is on vaccine efficacy. 

“We believe that” [variant] is highly infectious… it seems to be much more infectious than Delta.

“Given that there is a lot of mutation in the population, it is possible that vaccine efficacy is decreasing.”

The JCVI advised people aged over 40 and health professionals at high risk for Covid to obtain a booster in order to ‘help maintain high levels of protection from hospitalisations, severe illness, or death over the winter.

But today it said 18 to 39-year-olds will also be offered third doses, in descending age groups in a bid to control the spread and boost protection against the new Omicron variant.

Experts fear the strain — scientifically known as B.1.1.529 — is more infectious than Delta and can dodge vaccine protection because its mutations make it look so different to previous versions of the virus. 

Due to Omicron’s risk, the third dose can be administered up to three months following the first one. This reduces the time it takes for the patient to receive the injection. 

Professor Wei Shen Lim is the chair of Covid vaccination at the JCVI. He stated that ‘having a booster dose will help us to increase our level protection against Omicron variant. 

“This is an important step to lessen the negative impact this variant has on our lives in particular the next months. 

“If you qualify for a booster please accept it and ensure your safety as we move into winter.”

But since the booster programme was expanded to over-40s on November 15, dozens of people have reported spending hours on the phone to their GP or the NHS booking service, with one woman only getting through on her 92nd call.

Also, some elderly patients who are eligible were informed that they would have to wait a month for their next appointment.

The rollout is being hampered by red tape. One blind woman aged 94 was turned away at a Jab Centre in Hemel Hempstead (Hertfordshire) because she arrived one day earlier than expected. 

Patients are encouraged by the NHS to search for nearest centres within ten miles of their homes using the NHS walk in finder.

However, some people are told that they have to travel long distances in order get the vaccine. Not all GPs and pharmacies offer this service. 

Brian Bull and Jennifer, his partner, struggled to obtain their boosters due to confusing instructions on NHS.

Nearly a month ago Mr Bull had been due to get his jab but was denied by his local clinic, Appleby in Cumbria. 

He added: ‘The NHS website said there was a walk-in centre at Penrith. We drove the 14 miles only for the receptionist to say she knew nothing about it.’

The latest figures revealed that three-quarters of the mass vaccination centers in use are now closed, compared with April when the original Covid two-dose vaccine program was still in full swing.

It came as two new infections with the Omicron variant were confirmed today in Wandsworth and Camden, both based in London. It means some 11 infections with the mutant strain have been spotted in the country to date

This happened as new Omicron infections in Wandsworth (London) and Camden (London) were both confirmed. This means that 11 cases of the mutation strain have been reported in this country. 

The NHS has been moving away from its flagship centres. Many of these were temporarily located in shopping centers and sports venues. However, local pharmacies took over more of this load.

‘Shambles’: Patients slam the rollout of third doses 

Brian Bull and Jennifer, his partner, struggled to obtain their boosters due to confusing instructions on NHS.

Nearly a month ago Mr Bull had been due to get his jab but was denied by his local clinic, Appleby in Cumbria. 

He added: ‘The NHS website said there was a walk-in centre at Penrith. We drove the 14 miles only for the receptionist to say she knew nothing about it.’

They were directed to a rugby club but ‘they weren’t holding sessions that day’. 

He added: ‘We see so many advertisements from the NHS telling us to get our boosters, but it’s very hard to actually do it.’

And the rollout has been a ‘shambles’, said a retired police officer forced to go in person to his West Yorkshire GP to book his booster.

Keith Woodland, aged 74, has an irregular heartbeat and was not able to book. He received a NHS text telling his to go for a third jab. 

‘After calling 119 I tried again but the system was down. I was told the surgery might have the wrong details about me.’ 

He said: ‘It’s a shambles. All these senior politicians who say people aren’t booking jabs – when we can’t do it anyway.’

The current delays in rollout may be worsened by NHS capacity. GPs are under pressure from winter, and many nurses will not be available to give jabs. 

Professor Martin Marshall, chair of the Royal College of GPs, last month hinted GPs were struggling to get involved in the booster programme because they were already juggling a surge in demand for appointments and the flu jab campaign.

Today’s announcement may encourage the 12.6million eligible over-40s who are eligible to receive a booster jab. The overwhelmed health care system might struggle with the demand for the third dose.

A spokesperson for the Prime Minister suggested that Britons might need to receive a second dose of vaccines in order to be considered fully vaccinated. 

Under Plan B — which would see the Government tell people to work from home and introduce vaccine passports if the NHS faced unsustainable pressure — Britons could be required to provide they are fully vaccinated to enter certain settings, such as restaurants, pubs and cinemas. 

The official spokesperson of the Prime Minister, David Cameron, said when asked whether adult UK citizens will have to get three Covid injections in order to be considered fully vaccinated, “Well, like I said before, this is something that we are reviewing and we will obviously take clinical advice.”

“We recognize that there might be some changes in our approach, based upon what we learn about the new variant. However, we will update this article if any changes are made to that definition.

Asked whether people would be given sufficient notice if the change was introduced, they said: ‘Yes. It would be necessary to ensure that it is done ahead of time and clearly communicated.

England currently does not have any vaccine passports. However, new rules went into effect last month and required that social service workers be fully vaccinated to allow them to continue their work. From April, the same will be in effect for NHS frontline staff.

The question of whether frontline workers will need the three vaccines is unclear. This comes after the policy was implemented earlier in the month to halt the exodus of thousands from the sector. 

There are regulations in Scotland, Wales, Northern Ireland that requires people to be fully vaccinated.