Hundreds of coronavirus booster vaccines delivered by candlelight in North Yorkshire after Storm Arwen, says NHS boss

Hundreds of coronavirus vaccines were administered by candlelight last weekend after Storm Arwen blocked roads and knocked out power, according to the head of the NHS.

Chief Executive of NHS England Amanda Pritchard during a media briefing in Downing Street, London, on coronavirus

Speaking at a Downing Street press conference , Chief Executive of NHS England Amanda Pritchard said: “NHS staff continue to go above and beyond to vaccinate people.

"Just this week during Storm Arwen, an NHS team delivered hundreds of booster vaccines in North Yorkshire by candlelight."

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Her comments came as the booster vaccine campaign is extended in response to the Omicron variant spreading across the UK. Ms Pritchard reflected on the fact next week will mark one year since the first vaccine in the world was distributed in England adding the programme is “is closing in on 100 million jabs in England."

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Earlier this week, it was announced that all adults over the age of 18 will be eligible for a booster jab as part of efforts to contain the Omicron variant.

Boris Johnson has now promised that everybody eligible for a booster will be offered one by the end of January, has he called for “another great British vaccination effort” to tackle the variant.

“We’ve already done almost 18 million boosters across the UK but we’ve got millions more to do to protect the most vulnerable," he told the briefing.

“Then we’ll move down the cohorts rapidly, and working together with the devolved administrations we want to ramp up capacity across the whole United Kingdom to the levels we achieved in the previous vaccination effort.

“We’re going to be throwing everything at it in order to ensure that everyone eligible is offered that booster, as I say, in just over two months.”

At least 400 military personnel will be involved and temporary vaccination centres will be "popping up like Christmas trees" to get needles in arms in the coming weeks.

Ms Pritchard said staff are working at “breakneck speed” to expand the booster jab rollout. She explained: “The NHS Covid vaccination programme was already in its most complex phase and staff are now working at breakneck speed to respond to this, the biggest change in eligibility since the programme was launched.”

Ms Pritchard said “while changes to the booking system protocols and patient group directive are put in place” the rollout will continue to vaccinate those already eligible and repeated the Prime Minister’s call for people “not already eligible” not to contact the NHS about a jab until they are called forward.