UK: Johnson uses ministerial broadcast to ramp up vaccine programme
By Hamed Chapman and Ahmed J Versi
London, (The Muslim News): Boris Johnson has used a ministerial broadcast to bring forward his questionable target to give every adult in the UK to the end of this month, warning that the country could be set to face an omicron “tidal wave” from the new variant that could cause “very many deaths”.
The Prime Minister, who is under pressure to resign over his honesty, said everyone eligible aged 18 and over in England will have the chance to get their booster before the new year with the “emergency operation” being assisted by 42 military planning teams deployed across every region to set up additional vaccine sites.
Health Secretary, Sajid Javid, insisted Monday that Johnson was working “every minute of the day” without “any time to rest whatsoever” and was “totally and utterly focused on the nation’s challenges.”
Last week, the Prime Minister was forced to call an internal inquiry headed by the Cabinet Secretary to investigate claims about an alleged Christmas party held in Downing Street last year in breach of lockdown rules, while apologising “unreservedly” for the impression video by Downing Street staff making jokes on the alleged party created.
“I understand and share the anger up and down the country at seeing No 10 staff seeming to make light of lockdown measures, and I can understand how infuriating it must be to think that people who have been setting the rules have not been following the rules because I was also furious to see that clip.”
His use of a ministerial broadcast on Sunder, his 12th already since taking office in 2019, came as just hours after the Covid-19 alert level was raised from three to four for the first time since May due to the spread of the new Omicron virus variant, meaning a high or rising level of transmission.
Speaking on the BBC’s Today programme, Javid was again forced to deny that there was no shortage of Covid vaccines despite reports about the shortage of Pfizer supplies until January in some areas, increasing the dependence on Moderna vaccine supplies.
Another underlying doubt about the Prime Minister’s latest target is whether there is the infrastructure in the country to carry out another 23 million eligible for the booster jab in just over two weeks on top of the 23 million who have already received it in the past three months.
Johnson pledged that 42 teams from the military would be deployed across every region to help the effort, that extra vaccine sites and mobile units would be set up, that opening hours of clinics would be extended with more appointments and thousands more volunteer vaccinators would be trained.
[Photo: Prime Minister, Boris Johnson, gives a national television address concerning the Omicron variant of Covid-19 and the government’s booster jab program.on 12 December 2019 at 10 Downing Street. Picture by Tim Hammond / No 10 Downing Street]
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