Blair calls for 500,000-a-day Covid booster jab target

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Watch: Government rejects COVID Plan B but will 'stay vigilant'

Ministers should set a target of delivering 500,000 Covid booster jabs a day, Tony Blair has said, amid fears a fresh wave of disease could overwhelm the NHS.

With cases rising, Mr Blair said the Government needed to act “rapidly and decisively” to avoid the need for another lockdown as winter approaches.

A report by the former prime minister’s think tank, the Tony Blair Institute, said ministers should set a daily target for booster jabs, reactivate the vaccine infrastructure set up earlier in the year and start using the AstraZeneca vaccine for boosters.

It said the Government should also aim to ensure half of all 12 to 15-year-olds are vaccinated by the start of December while making the approval of vaccines for the under-12s a priority.

And it called on ministers to “urgently explore” the options for introducing a Covid passport while reinstating mandatory face coverings for crowded indoor public spaces.

Mr Blair said that without action now, there was a danger that further restrictions would be required in the weeks ahead.

“Everyone hopes that the damage of Covid-19 is substantially behind us even as we battle its legacy,” he said.

“However, the worst that could happen is that we go back into anything approaching the lockdowns we experienced during the past 18 months. We’re not saying this will happen. But the risk is there now.

“Once well ahead of the rest of Europe, we’re now behind Germany, France and Italy in terms of cases and even vaccinations.

“So, from an abundance of caution, a sensible sentiment given the history of Covid-19, we believe the Government should rapidly and decisively accelerate measures to give us the best possible chance of avoiding the disease spiralling again. “

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