Faster booster jabs, a ‘wonder pill’ and plunging infection rates delivered a triple boost last night in the fight against Covid.

The double-vaccinated can book their third dose starting Monday, a month before the rest.

A second important development is that a new antiviral medication has been developed to reduce the chance of people suffering from coronavirus being admitted or even dying.

Official figures from yesterday indicated that both the R-rate and infection rate have fallen. Cases have dropped by a third in a fortnight – from 49,298 to 34,029.

According to one expert, the most recent figures suggest that coronavirus infection may have reached its peak in England.

Ministers are being criticized fiercely for their booster jabs. The slow pace of rollout is blamed in large numbers.

So far third doses could only be booked when they become due – six months after a second jab. This meant that people had to wait weeks for convenient appointments, even though their immunity was decreasing.

Next week reservations can still be booked online a month ahead or by calling (119).

From Monday the double vaccinated will be able to book their third dose a month earlier than before

On Monday, double vaccinated people will be able book their third dose one month sooner than usual.

Health Secretary Sajid Javid told the Mail last night: ‘Ahead of the peak winter season these are three really important developments that give us hope. For the best chance of avoiding this virus, everyone should get their vaccine if necessary and their booster as soon possible.

He said that Covid-19 vaccinations were the best way for you to keep your family safe ahead of the winter. This change in the booking system will allow people to make their appointments as quickly as possible.

“This will help accelerate the booster program and ensure that the NHS is in a position to vacinate as fast as possible. It will also allow more people to be protected against Covid-19, as immunity can decline over time.

‘Please do not delay – come and get the jab to keep the virus at bay.’

Although ministers had intended to give boosters to 32 million people before Christmas, it is now looking less likely. Nine million people have received boosters so far.

Jonathan Ashworth (Labour’s Health Spokesperson) has sent a letter to Mr Javid requesting more walk-in clinics and community pharmacies for boosters and child’s jabs. His warning was that it was necessary to address the ‘pitifully high’ vaccine rate among young children. Only one-fourth of the 12-15-year-olds have been vaccinated, even though there was a goal to get them all vaccinated by half-term.

According to Covid-19 Actuaries Response Group, six million English residents who received a second dose of erectile dysfunction treatment at least six months prior to this one and were eligible to receive a booster have not had it.

Protective immunity against symptoms drops from 65% after three months of receiving the Oxford/AstraZeneca jab, to only 45% after six months. Pfizer/BioNTech vaccines are 90% and 65% respectively.

The protection against hospitalization drops from 95% to 75% for Oxford/AstraZeneca to between 98% and 90% for Pfizer/BioNTech over the same period. Any small decrease in effectiveness can have major consequences. If the protection against hospitalisation drops from 95 percent to 90 percent, it would result in a doubled number of admissions.

Pfizer has shown that boosters can provide protection against the symptoms of infection up to 95.6%.

Maggie Throup, the vaccines minister, said: ‘The Covid-19 booster programme is making great progress – thank you to the NHS and everybody who has come forward so far to secure vital protection ahead of the winter.

“I recommend that everyone eligible for the flu booster or vaccine book their jab ASAP to ensure your safety and those around you in the months ahead.

The clinical guidance has been updated to permit Covid boosters being given earlier to people at the highest risk. Care home residents may receive their second doses at different times. This means that they can be given the vaccine in one session as long as their last dose has not been more than five months.

You may find it helpful for housebound or other vulnerable people so they have the flu and Covid vaccines simultaneously. Covid boosters can be booked or delivered to almost all older adult care homes in England.


Over 9,700 care homes – almost nine in ten – have been visited since the rollout began in mid-September and a further 1,100 homes have visits scheduled for the coming weeks. Over four out of five residents who are eligible have had their vaccinations.

Some homes can’t be visited right now due to Covid or norovirus outbreaks. However, NHS England has set dates for future visits.

Stephen Powis is the national medical director of NHS England. He stated that seven million people have received their lifesaving vaccines, and that the NHS was moving at a rapid pace to give jabs in arm.

‘While this winter is undoubtedly going to be different, the most important thing you can do is come forward for both your Covid booster and flu jab as soon as possible – now with the added convenience of booking in advance – making it even easier to protect yourself and loves ones.’

Yesterday’s Government statement stated that another 193 deaths had occurred in the UK following coronavirus testing.

 Pfizer pill slashes risk of getting seriously ill

Victoria Allen is Science Correspondent at the Daily Mail. 

The risk that vulnerable persons will be hospitalized with Covid-19 or die from it by nearly 90 percent has been reduced thanks to a new antiviral medication.

Britain already has ordered nearly a quarter million doses (called Paxlovid).

It was the first to approve an antiviral similar to molnupiravir this week. This can be used at home by people who are high-risk. The UK secured 480,000 doses.

The pill, called PF-07321332, works by inhibiting an enzyme that the coronavirus uses to make copies of itself inside human cells (file image)

The coronavirus makes copies inside of human cells using an enzyme called PF-7321332. (file image).

Hopes high for Christmas as daily cases fall by a third 

Experts say the Covid pandemic has receded across the country, and that Christmas will be “transformationally different” to last year.

The number of new infections per day has dropped by nearly a third in the UK during the past week, dropping from 49.298 on Oct 22 to 34.029 yesterday.

According to UK Health Security Agency (UKHSA), the incidence could shrink by one percent per day in England.

According to separate figures, approximately one-fifth of all people living in England contracted the virus during the week ending October 30, according to the Office for National Statistics.

This is equivalent to about 1.1million people – unchanged from the previous week – and the same as the second wave peak in January.

To be fair, deaths are down compared to January’s peak of 1,300 in the morning. Yesterday saw 193 deaths.

Paul Hunter, a professor of medicine at University of East Anglia said that the figures provide “reassurance” that infection may have reached a peak.

Jim Naismith from the University of Oxford is a professor of structural biology and said that vaccinations for teenagers could help to ‘drive down’ infections.

He said, “There’s no doubt this Christmas will transform.”

“There is no better evidence to support the vaccine than this positive change in our lives. The licensing of new medicines and treatments is encouraging to me.


The trials of Paxlovid involved an initial 1,219 participants. However, it was so successful that they were stopped before the trial ended.

Among those who took the drug – which is made by US firm Pfizer – within three days of getting Covid symptoms, less than 1 per cent were admitted to hospital and none died.

People who were given a placebo pill suffered worse outcomes, with 7 percent of them being hospitalized and seven people dying.

Sajid Javid, Health Secretary to the Government of India said that the findings were “incredible” and that the Medical Regulator would assess whether the drug is safe and effective.

According to him, if approved, it could become another important weapon in our arsenal to combat the virus along with our vaccines, other treatments and our vaccinations, such as molnupiravir. The UK was the first to approve this treatment this week. Albert Bourla is the chief executive at Pfizer. He said, ‘Today’s news will make a significant difference in international efforts to end the destruction caused by this pandemic.

“These data indicate that the oral antiviral agent we have developed, should it be approved by regulators, could save lives and reduce severity of Covid-19 infection. It can also eliminate nine of ten hospitalisations.

Pfizer’s combination therapy contains a “protease inhibitor”, which prevents Covid from multiplying in the body.

The HIV drug ritonavir is administered in a lower dose. It keeps the virus from spreading to the brain.

The pill works differently to molnupiravir, which was approved by the medical regulator on Thursday and is made by Ridgeback Biotherapeutics and MSD – the UK arm of US pharmaceutical giant Merck.

Molnupiravir incorporates genetic mistakes into the virus, making it more difficult to replicate. Both antiviral medications are a significant breakthrough in the way the pandemic is being managed. They can be used at home and do not require infusions.

Paxlovid can be given to patients within the first three days after symptoms appear. One percent of those who were treated were admitted within 28 days and none were ever diagnosed with cancer.

This is compared to the seven deaths of people who received a dummy drug, and 6.7% were admitted. Participants in the trials were those unvaccinated or who were already infected.

However, the results of this study have yet to be published in scientific journals or verified by any other scientists.

Associate Professor at Leeds’ School of Medicine Dr Stephen Griffin said that the use of antivirals is ‘vital for treating clinically vulnerable patients, who might be ineligible to get or respond to vaccinations’.