Over 27,000 got booster jabs last week

Booster jab numbersBooster jab numbers
Booster jab numbers
More than 27,000 people in Northumberland have received a booster dose of the coronavirus vaccine in the past week, new figures show.

The booster jab rollout has been scaled up because of concern over the spread of the Omicron variant and data from the UK coronavirus dashboard shows at least 27,696 people in the area received a booster or third vaccine dose in the week ending Monday, December 20.

That was up from 18,719 the previous week– a rise of 48%.

A total of 175,618 people in the area had received a booster or third dose by Monday – at least 60% of people aged 12 and over – and they were among the 29.9 million people nationally to have received an extra vaccine dose as of December 20.

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While Prime Minister Boris Johnson has ruled out bringing in new restrictions in England before Christmas, tougher rules could be in force by the New Year in a bid to protect the NHS.

The figures came as NHS chiefs said the service was facing its busiest Christmas period ever – with bed occupancy rates five per cent higher than last year.

Chief executive of NHS Providers Chris Hopson also said the "broader picture" of critical care pressures beyond Covid hospital cases was being overlooked.

He said: "If you look at the broader picture, we are busier at this time of year than we've ever been before. Our bed occupancy rate is 94.5% compared to last year's 89%. That's a huge difference."