Brits queuing for five hours in a bid to get Covid booster vaccine before Christmas

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The Government has urged everyone to book their next Covid vaccine, but as set appointments run out Brits are flocking to walk in centres in their thousands in a desperate bid to get jabbed before Christmas

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Long queues await people seeking jabs as demand soars ahead of Christmas

People across the UK are waiting in queues for more than five hours to get the chance of a Covid booster in time for Christmas, as the nation reported its third consecutive day of record-high case numbers.

The Government has urged everyone to book their next Covid vaccine, but with limited slots available, people are turning to walk-in vaccination centres to get their next dose.

Everyone aged 18 and over is expected to receive their invitation to book their next jab by January, with anyone who received their second jab more than three months ago is able to get their next one.

People queue outside a covid vaccination centre at St Thomas’ Hospital, in Westminster, London, in the hope of getting jabbed before Christmas
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In an effort to get more people through the door at vaccine centres, the 15-minute post-jab wait has been axed.

Mother-of-two Alex Demetri tried to get her second dose at Leith Community Treatment Centre in Edinburgh on Friday.

But was forced to abandon her plan after being told she would have to wait more than four hours.

She said: “It just annoys me because it’s so against what the Government is promoting, this whole idea of this massive drive to get everyone vaccinated, and it’s virtually impossible in a major city like Edinburgh to do that.

“I had to walk away without getting my vaccine, which is just infuriating.”

The 35-year-old financial services worker said she was hoping to be able to pop in and “get it in time for Christmas so that I can meet more safely with my family”.

She added: “I turned up and all you can see is the queue all the way down (Great) Junction Street, and I went in and there’s one woman on reception and she was like ‘the wait is four or five hours’.”

In London, where the new variant Omicron became the dominant strain earlier this week, Londoners have been queuing for hours across the city on their lunch breaks and taking days off work to get the next dose in their arm.

In London, where the new variant Omicron became the dominant strain earlier this week, Londoners have been queuing for hours
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The UK today recorded 93,045 new Covid cases, with parts of the nation starting to tighten Covid regulations.

Wales announced yesterday that from December 27, nightclubs will be closed and social distancing rules will come back into force.

Scotland’s First Minister Nicola Sturgeon – who has asked Scots to socialise only with two other households at a time – today said the R number of Omicron is “possibly above four”.

She added: “The tsunami I warned about a week ago is now starting to hit us”.

England has so far only brought back compulsory face masks in shops and public transport, and vaccine passports for nightclubs, but Boris Johnson has so far resisted calls for more stringent measures to tackle the rise in cases.

Hundreds of people queue at a vaccination centre on Solihull High Street
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At the Leith centre on Friday, there were hundreds of people waiting in line.

Some of those had turned up hours in advance, with many taking the day off of work to get their next dose of the vaccine.

One woman had even taken her work with her, waiting in line with her laptop open.

Christoph Krupa, 24, turned up at 8.30am to get his vaccination, and was still waiting four hours later.

He wanted his second dose before going home to Switzerland for Christmas.

Lou Elliot, 20, said it was her second day of trying to get her booster and she had been queuing since about 10.30am.

On Thursday she was told the clinic could not take any more patients for jags at about 3pm.

People in the queue said they had seen people leave because they had got too cold, or were just fed up with waiting.

A 62-year-old woman from the capital, who did not want to be named, said she had turned up at around 9am.

“I would rather I’m not queuing but that’s the way it is,” she said.

“It’s alright for me, I’m not working, but there are others who have had to leave to pick up their kids and things.”

Susan Thornton, 42, arrived at the back of the queue at around midday with her one-year-old Guy in the hope that she could get her jag.

“I’m not going to stand here for hours,” she said.

Martin Richardson said he had arrived early but still had to wait four hours for his jab.

“I would have liked to have waited less,” the 28-year-old said after he finally got his vaccine.

He said members of the community had brought people in the queue food and drink and he received a croissant and a hot drink.

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George Holan

George Holan is chief editor at Plainsmen Post and has articles published in many notable publications in the last decade.

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