UK: Fewer than HALF of those eligible for Covid booster have come forward

Millions of Britons eligible for the autumn Covid booster vaccine have yet to come forward, according to official figures.

Only 12.2million over-50s, health and care workers and immunocompromised people in England had a top-up jab by October 30. 

It suggests the vaccination campaign, now open to 26m people after kicking off on September 1, has so far reached just around 47 per cent of those eligible.

But rates are as low as 10 per cent among staff working in care homes.

Health chiefs want all booster jabs to be dished out by December – when they expect infections to peak – to ensure maximum protection among society’s most vulnerable. The drive was labelled vital for protecting the most vulnerable and the NHS against Covid this winter.

But with medics administering an average of 190,000 doses per day, just seven in 10 would be jabbed by the end of the month if the same pace continued, MailOnline analysis suggests. The Government insists the roll-out is going quicker, however. 

Experts said it’s now ‘quite likely’ infections will rise due to the low uptake and warned of a ‘real problem’ if cases start trending upwards. Some claimed the Government’s ‘living with Covid’ message has put people off getting vaccinated.

UK-wide Covid restrictions were eased in the spring, with ministers crediting sky-high immunity rates – from jab roll-outs and repeated waves — for the UK being able to ditch economically crippling curbs. Britain has remained restriction-free since then, despite two more Covid peaks.

Despite just half of Britons being jabbed, some experts noted the fall-off in vaccination rates was ‘to be expected’ – as uptake often tails off with repeated doses – and that Covid, as a disease, is much milder than it was during the pandemic.

NHS England data shows 11.2million over-50s and almost 435,000 NHS workers have had a Covid jab between September 5 and October 31. 

Rates are lowest among those in their early fifties (23 per cent), who the programme only officially opened to in the last few weeks.

Meanwhile, 295,000 severely immunosuppressed people and nearly 785,000 at-risk people aged 5-49 have received a top-up dose. 

Some 180,000 care home residents — who health chiefs said should be prioritised — have been immunised this autumn.



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