It's now a year since the UK became the first country in the world to approve the Pfizer Covid vaccine. More than 115 million vaccine doses have now been administered across the UK, with 18 million people now having received a Covid-19 booster jab to protect themselves and their loved ones this winter.
38,220 people in North Norfolk have so far received their Covid booster, or third jab. By getting a booster jab, you can help strengthen the wall of defence against Covid-19 and allow everyone to enjoy Christmas safely with their families and loved ones this year. The government and NHS continue to step up efforts to ensure vulnerable people are protected over the winter.
As a precaution in light of the discovery of the new Omicron variant - about which little is presently known or understood - the government has expanded the booster programme to all adults over 18 and announced that all eligible people will be offered a top-up jab by the end of January.
To speed up the vaccination programme, around 400 military personnel will be drafted in to support deployment, with 1,500 community pharmacy sites, additional hospital hubs, and pop-up sites opening in convenient locations across the country.
I encourage all those who have not yet come forward to receive a booster jab to do so. Not only will it protect progress made in tackling Covid-19, but it will help ensure we can enjoy Christmas safely with our loved ones in the knowledge we've taken responsible steps to protect them from the virus.
The government is future-proofing our vaccination efforts for years to come by securing 114 million new doses for 2022 and 2023. In addition, we are investing £36bn in health and social care over the next three years, to tackle the backlog in the NHS which has been caused by the Covid virus. And GP surgeries will be receiving an additional £250m to help take pressure off staff and ensure patients can be seen by their GP in the way they want, no matter where they live.