Thousands of people throughout England took a few minutes during Christmas Day to put on the COVID-19 vaccine, lining up under leaden skies and in the middle of winter, as the omicron variant is causing an increase in cases across the country.
Good Health Pharmacy in north London was one of the stores that opened on Saturday to give the vaccine, amid a government effort to offer the booster vaccines to all adults before the end of the year.
Pharmacist Fenil Lalji said the pharmacy owners decided to open because they lost a relative to the virus, and they wanted to do everything possible to help the population stay healthy.
“The family obviously went through very difficult times so their children wanted to make sure that they are giving their all to fight the virus,” Lalji told the BBC.
“This is an extremely difficult time for the family, and we just want to make sure that no one has to go through something similar,” he added.
Britain has expanded its booster vaccination program in the last two weeks, adapting sports stadiums and cathedrals to serve as vaccination centers, in the face of studies that two doses of the vaccine are not enough to protect against omicron. Even as the National Health Service rushes to vaccinate as many people as possible, the number of confirmed infections surpassed 100,000 a day last week for the first time during the pandemic.
Health Secretary Sajid Javid on Friday urged the public to “make the booster shot part of your Christmas,” and praised those who are working during the holiday to offer the inoculations.
“I would like to thank the dedicated work of the National Health Service and the volunteers who are sacrificing their time with their loved ones to offer these lifesaving vaccines this Christmas and to help everyone get their booster shots now,” Javid said in a statement. .
The Office for National Statistics estimates that 1.7 million people in the UK had COVID-19 in the week ending December 19, the highest number since counting began in the fall of 2020.
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