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Covid ‘booster programme on steroids’ may take 10 more days to kick off, says NHS chief

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The development comes days after Health Secretary Sajid Javid announced that it would be a “booster programme on steroids”, with all adults in England to be vaccinated by the end of January as the cases of Omicron variant spirals up in the country. In a letter to regional health bosses and national vaccine programme leaders, Amanda Pritchard, chief executive of NHS England said patients may not be able to book appointments under the new schedule until December 13.

They will then be invited in age bands, rather than all at once.

The letter further said that GPs will be allowed to postpone health checks for over-75s and new patients to free up time.

Requirements to monitor patients with certain health conditions under the “quality and outcomes framework” will be suspended, although they will still need to deliver vaccination and cervical screening.

The letter also confirms that the amount GPs and pharmacies are paid per vaccination will be increased over the next two months.

On Monday the Joint Committee on Vaccination and Immunisation (JCVI) announced that the booster programme should be expanded to all over-18s, and the gap between second doses and boosters halved from six months to three.

The UK Health Security Agency on Friday said that it had identified 75 more cases of the Omicron variant in England, taking the total number of cases to 104.

According to the officials, people and their contacts had been asked to isolate and work is under way to establish any links to travel.

Public health bosses on Friday said that “a strong early signal” from laboratory testing had suggested that the Omicron variant was starting to spread in Britain.

READ MORE:Donald Trump slams Biden over US vaccine rollout ‘Done a terrible job’

However, PM Boris Johnson said that Christmas would go ahead “as normally as possible”.

Speaking at a by-election campaign visit to Oswestry, Shropshire, the Prime Minister said that people did not need to cancel parties or nativity plays.



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