Anyone living in Bolton has been invited to get a Covid jab before 5pm today amid fears over the spread of the Indian variant.
Councillor Andy Morgan shared a Tweet inviting Britons of all ages to ‘visit the vaccine bus’ if they live in the area and are registered with a local GP.
He said the team of medics ‘will find a reason to vaccinate you’ before closing time at 5pm.
The 4,000 jabs at the pop-up centre must be used before the end of the day, the councillor for Heaton and Lostock added.
The area has seen a surge in cases of the Indian Covid variant, which now makes up the majority of it’s new cases.
As of yesterday, Bolton’s infection rate is the highest in the country at 192 cases per 100,000 people.
And Government scientists fear the Indian variant could be 50 per cent more infectious than the Kent strain – which models project could lead to 1,000 deaths a day, as well as 10,000 daily hospitalisations, by the summer.
Anyone living in Bolton has been invited to get a Covid jab before 5pm today amid fears over the spread of the Indian variant. Pictured: A queue for the jabs at the pop up centre
The 4,000 jabs at the pop-up centre must be used before the end of the day (the queue, pictured), the councillor for Heaton and Lostock added
The area has seen a surge in cases of the Indian Covid variant, which now makes up the majority of it’s new cases. Pictured: A queue for the jabs at the pop up centre
Boris Johnson has pledged to ‘throw everything we have’ at keeping cases of the Indian variant down and is set to send the Army into Britain’s worst hotspots – including Bolton – to hand out tests in a bid to slow the spread.
Pop-up vaccination sites are also being set up to speed the inoculation drive, along with surge testing measures.
These includes Bolton, where today’s pop up centre at the Essa Academy school saw queues snaking along the pavement as eager locals waited to get their jabs.
Other areas where surge testing is being carried out in England include Blackburn, Sefton and London.
Public Health England data shows a rise in cases of the Indian variant of concern from 520 to 1,313 this week in the UK.
Labour’s shadow health secretary Jonathan Ashworth accused the Prime Minister of a ‘reckless failure to protect our borders’.
Meanwhile, the deputy chair of the Joint Committee on Vaccination and Immunisation (JCVI) said vaccines are ‘almost certainly less effective’ at reducing transmission of the Indian variant.
But Professor Anthony Harnden said it is not believed the strain evades the vaccines’ effectiveness in preventing severe disease.
He defended the approach of bringing forward second jabs rather than speeding up the rollout to younger people, saying targeting more vulnerable people with full immunity is a ‘better strategy’.
‘The vaccines may be less effective against transmission and immunity takes a number of weeks to develop, so it’s not a very good strategy for preventing transmission, what we want is to prevent disease,’ he told Today.
‘From a vaccination strategy it just won’t help mass-vaccinating a number of young people at the expense of older people who haven’t been vaccinated.’
Cases of the B.1.617.2 strain – also known as the Indian variant due to its country of origin – have more than doubled in the past week across the UK, with 1,313 cases detected by May 12, up from the 520 the previous week.
The Prime Minister is pinning his hopes of beating the virus on a ‘flexed’ jab drive. But experts fear vaccinations are not the key to slowing the spread.
Deputy chairman of the Joint Committee on Vaccination and Immunisation Dr Anthony Harnden today said the jab is ‘almost certainly less effective against transmission’ because immunity only kicks in three weeks after the vaccine is given.
He also stressed that while the vaccine protects against ‘severe disease’ – therefore helping keep hospitalisation and death rates down – countless vulnerable people and over 50s still haven’t had the jab at all.
People aged over 50 and the clinically vulnerable will have their second doses of a Covid vaccine accelerated.
Meanwhile, Scottish National Party health spokesperson Dr Philippa Whitford warned you ‘cannot out-vaccinate the variant’ due to the time taken to build immunity once someone gets the jab.
And she stressed that letting the virus ‘run rampant’ in young people who are not yet vaccinated could lead to the creation of more deadly variants.
Mr Johnson has warned England will face ‘hard choices’ if the Indian variant turns out to be much more transmissible than others.
But even so, he announced last night that Britain will press ahead with plans for indoor drinking and dining next week – with ministers today insisting the rule change is the ‘safe and right thing to do’.
Monday’s easing will allow people to socialise indoors in homes, pubs and restaurants, and will permit physical contact between households for the first time in more than a year.
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