Massive queues form outside walk-in clinics for Covid vaccine as young Londoners rush to get their jabs
MASSIVE queues formed outside walk-in clinics today as young Londoners rush to get their Covid jabs.
The vaccine blitz is entering the "home stretch", with all over-18s to be invited to book their first and second doses tomorrow.
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Dozens of people lined up outside a pharmacy in North Greenwich this morning – well before it opened its doors.
They raced to the area after the council said first doses of the Pfizer vaccine would be available to over-25s living in the area – without an appointment, NHS number or immigration status.
And yesterday, a walk-in clinic in nearby Deptford was forced to close early after running out of doses due to high demand.
Danny Thorpe, leader of Greenwich council, said: "People will queue in their hundreds to get vaccinated in London.
"We need more vaccines now please so we can meet demand & say goodbye to this pandemic."
Younger Brits have already scrambled to snap up earlier second jab slots as under-40s discover they can get appointments weeks sooner.
People in their 20s and 30s have reported being able to cancel their original final dose and re-book for a much earlier day.
One person wrote on Twitter: "Wow just got booked in for the Covid vaccine tomorrow! Earlier than expected (I'm not 40 just yet!) So happy. Thank you NHS."
NHS Digital bosses said they have tweaked the booking service to make it easier for Brits to bring forward their second jab, and encouraged over-40s to re-book now to get closer to an eight-week gap after their first.
But they reminded people to check they are not moving it to under eight weeks as this will mean they are not properly protected from the virus.
Everyone else eligible should wait to be told if they can re-book earlier, NHS England said.
Around one million people aged 21 and 22 were told to book their coronavirus jabs yesterday.
Hundreds of thousands of text messages were sent out inviting them to schedule appointments for both doses via the national booking system.
And everybody over the age of 18 is expected to be able to start booking from tomorrow, edging the country closer to normality.
Dr Emily Lawson, lead for the NHS Covid vaccination programme, said yesterday: "The largest ever NHS vaccination campaign is in the home stretch of the first dose rollout.
"The vaccine is the most important step you can take to protect yourself, your friends and family so it's really important everybody in the latest eligible groups books themselves in to get their jab and plays their part in this huge national effort."
Health Secretary Matt Hancock added: "We're almost at the final hurdle of offering lifesaving jabs to all UK adults, with both vaccines providing the fullest possible protection against symptoms, serious illness and hospitalisation from this awful virus and moving us a step closer to beating this pandemic."
Boris Johnson hopes by July 19 – the new "freedom day" – around two thirds of the adult population will have had two jabs, including all over-40s, the vulnerable and health and care workers.
The PM said: "To do this we will now accelerate the second jabs for those over 40, just as we did for the vulnerable groups, so they get the maximum protection as fast as possible.
"We will bring forward our target to give every adult in this country a first dose by July 19."
It is hoped by then foreign summer holidays will be back on, with the double-jabbed able to travel abroad freely.
However, at least 100,000 vaccines need to be given out in the capital every day in order to hit the Government's target – and it seems this is a long way off.
A total of 58,282 vaccines were administered in London on Wednesday – well below the daily target.
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