Booster uptake spikes after PMs announcement

Booster uptake increased by eight times in two days. Insert: Paul Hunter, virus expert

Booster uptake increased by eight times in two days. Insert: Paul Hunter, virus expert - Credit: Sarah Lucy Brown/Archant

A virus expert is urging people to book their third vaccine "as soon as you can" amid a city-wide booster uptake spike.

Following the prime minister's announcement, there has been a rush to get jabbed by 18-40 year-olds.

On December 12, there were 59 boosters administered to 18 to 39-year-olds in Norwich. And by December 14, the numbers had gone up more than eight times to 488.

Eighteen to 29-year-olds in Norwich have had among the highest booster uptake in the county and a total of 42,666 booster jabs have been administered to those aged 18 and up in Norfolk.

University of East Anglia virus expert, Paul Hunter, said: "This is what we're seeing across the country.

"We'll see uptake increase even more, especially when the government increases the accessibility.

"The spike will get more obvious once vaccine centres catch up. Because even though 18-39s can book boosters, the only appointments might be weeks away.

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"Book it as soon as you can. Because, even if it's unlikely, you could end up in hospital or even just with a really awful illness. And it's not just an issue for you, especially in the run-up to Christmas where you'll see family."

In Norfolk, 8,709 booster and third doses were reported on December 14, nearly 2,000 more than the previous day but short of the record of 10,358 on November 6.

Prof Paul Hunter of the UEA's Norwich medical school. Photo: Bill Smith

Virus expert, Professor Paul Hunter, says the spike will continue to increase - Credit: Archant 2013

Professor Hunter said earlier this week: "What we know for certain is the thing that's going to make the biggest difference is people having their booster vaccinations - that is going to make a difference.

"With booster uptake we should be able to overcome some of the worst pressure on the health service.

"Omicron also appears to have some ability to get around existing immunity, whether from vaccination or infection.

"However, it seems less able to do this when people are boosted with a third vaccine dose."

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