Great Britain

Push for 1million jabs a day to save British summer as door-to-door ‘Covid hit squads’ target India variant hot spots

THE government plans to vaccinate one million people a day as 'Covid hit squads' target India variant hot spots across the country.

By using a stockpile of 3.2 million vaccines, daily doses will be ramped up from 500,000 to 800,000 within a fortnight.

🔵 Read our coronavirus live blog for the latest updates

Government insiders told The Telegraph they hope the number can increase to one million during some days over the summer.

Door-to-door teams are heading to Bolton and Blackburn, where the strain of the Indian variant is highest and there is a greatest level of "vaccine hesitancy".

Multi-generational households will also be offered vaccines.

A government source said: "In jabs we trust."

Yesterday Boris Johnson announced that the army is set to be deployed in the town in a race to crack down on the strain.

Surge testing had already been deployed in the area in order to detect cases of the Indian and South African variant.

Mr Johnson said the army would help push out more surge tests and vaccinations will also be pushed in both Bolton and Blackburn with Darwen - with sites opening for longer in these areas.

He said: "We will be throwing everything we have at this task. Colonel Russ Miller, commander of the North West region, will be deployed to support local leaders in managing the local response on the ground.

"For those living in Bolton there is now a new, greater risk from this variant.

"The army will be out on the streets handing out tests".

It comes as:

In Bolton yesterday, 4,000 people were vaccinated by a Covid 'jab bus' but it caused queue chaos after false claims that everyone in the area was able to receive jabs.

Bolton's infection rate currently stands at 228.5 cases per 100,000 people, far above many other areas in the UK.

Thousands of people queued after Councillor Andy Morgan shared a Tweet inviting locals of all ages to “visit the vaccine bus” if they live in the area and are registered with a local GP.

He told residents that if they make their way down “the team will find a reason to vaccinate you" - but the tweet was later deleted.

As the Indian variant continues to raise caution, the MHRA (the medicines regulator) is expected to approve Johnson & Johnson's single dose vaccine.

There were fears that the Government's decision to allow the over 50s to have their second dose earlier could impact younger people.

But it was confirmed by sources that first jabs for the over 35 will be available "in the coming days".

The leader of Bolton Council David Greenhalgh told BBC Radio 4's The World at One: "This is an issue of capacity but we have had very, very constructive talks and certainly all the soundings are is that they are looking to progress that as soon as possible.

"The vast majority of our cases are in their teens, 20s and 30s at the moment.

"If we can get vaccinations to (those aged) 16-plus, which are licensed by Pfizer, then it will make a total transformation of transmission as it moves forward.

"I think realistically that would start in targeted areas where we see the predominance (of the virus) currently."

Sage (the Government's scientific advisory group) warned the Indian may be 50 per cent more transmissible than the Kent variant, which is currently dominant.

There are fears the Indian Covid strain could lead to 1,000 deaths a day, with the Army being deployed to help surge testing in the worst-hit areas, such as Bolton and Blackburn.

Sir Mark Walport, a member of Sage, said the race between the spread of coronavirus and the vaccination rollout was "on a knife edge".

But hospitalisations in the over-60s, who are most at-risk from serious infection, remain low, with data suggesting the AstraZeneca and Pfizer vaccines are effective against the variant.

The PM cautioned last night that the June 21 easing of restrictions could be jeopardised by the spread of the new mutation of the disease.

Huge Covid vaccine queue as EVERYONE in Bolton invited to get jab over Indian variant fears

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