MAIL ON SUNDAY. COMMENT: Sajid Javi must master jabs shambles, and get the boosters firing.

The Government finally moves to address the failure of the Covid booster scheme, despite all the slowness, juddering, and hesitation. While we are pleased that the Government is trying, it should be much more determined. It is a crucial part of our lives.

As long as we keep vaccination coverage high, the threat of a new viral crisis infecting our hospitals will be greatly diminished.

Perhaps Ministers are too focused on their green agenda driven by the COP26 conference in Glasgow this week. While we are certain that we must do everything possible to save the planet, this doesn’t mean governments should forget about the day-to-day tasks of keeping people safe, healthy, and prosperous.

At the beginning, Britain’s vaccination programme was a superb example of all that is best about this Government. The research was fast, brilliant, and world-class.

Health Secretary Sajid Javid pictured during a press conference inside the Downing Street Briefing Room in central London on October 20

Sajid Javid, Health Minister, photographed at a press conference in the Downing Street briefing room in central London, on October 20

Covid was stopped by Covid’s bold and beautiful launch. Importantly, the Government had made sure that its supplies were always sufficient to meet demand. We demonstrated to the EU and the rest of the world how such an idea could be realized.

Dame Kate Bingham and her able lieutenant Emily Lawson, who is now happily back at work on the booster program, and Vaccines minister Nadhim Zhawi gave a great example of what government can achieve when it really tries. They believed that problems could be solved if you really want to, as opposed to the Civil Service view that problems are a reason for failure.

Whitehall seems to be back in its default position of not very good and not very fast since the dissolution of this team. This is not acceptable. Do not let this be a time to slow down. It is difficult to emphasize how important this success was. Our return to normal or at least near normal is due in large part to the calming effect of vaccination on the disease.

We must act as soon as the spring and summer vaccines’ effects fade, as they are bound to. The numbers are grim. Only 1.3 million of the over-80s who are eligible for a booster have received one.

A nurse administers a dose of a Pfizer booster vaccine to a member of the public at a vaccination centre in Derby on September 20

A nurse administers a dose to a member the public of the Pfizer booster vaccine at a Derby vaccination centre on September 20.

The authorities admit that 2.4 millions of eligible people have not yet been invited to a booster jab. Despite growing evidence that schoolchildren could be vaccinated, the plan to do so is severely stalled. We report this today.

Who is to blame? You can be certain that the Government is responsible for the failures of its policies when it blames the people. Yet Amanda Pritchard, chief executive of NHS England, said last week there is ‘plenty of capacity’ and other officials cited alleged public complacency as a key factor in the slow take-up.

Really? When it becomes easier to schedule vaccination appointments, as the Government promises, we will see just how complacent people can be.

Sajid Javid, the new Health Secretary, has a lot to do.

He has taken the time to get used to his new responsibilities. Let him now demonstrate his speed.