Thousands of people queued up along streets in Bolton to get a jab at a “vaccine bus” as the Indian coronavirus variant surges in the area.
The government is becoming increasingly concerned with the spread of the B1.617.2 variant in areas of the UK, especially the North West where the rate is rising the quickest.
Figures from Public Health England (PHE) have shown Indian variant cases rose from 520 to 1,313 this week in the UK, with the agency saying infections were “rising in the community” and it was assessing the impact and severity.
According to data compiled by the PA press agency, Bolton now has the highest rate of new infections in England, with 657 new cases in the seven days to May 10 – the equivalent of 228.5 cases per 100,000 people.
As a result, the vaccine bus was set up to increase uptake in the area.
Queues of people could be seen lining the streets on Saturday afternoon after it emerged that the bus had 4,000 available vaccines which had to be used that day.
Pictures showed people standing in the rain with umbrellas and face masks as the queues stretched back along residential roads.
Bolton residents turned up for a jab after a local councillor wrote on Twitter that all ages could turn up to the vaccine bus that day for a jab.
Watch: Young people queue for vaccines in Sefton amid rise in Indian variant
He posted: "Urgent. Please share. Anyone with a Bolton Postcode and registered with a Bolton GP can visit the vaccine bus at the @EssaAcademy vaccination site and #GetVaccinated.
"The team will find a reason to vaccinate you. Closes at 5pm. The 4,000 vaccines must be used today."
Crowds soon formed a queue which was estimated to be around 1,200ft long.
Meanwhile, the site was being manned by 42 officials carrying out vaccinations.
While the centre had a vaccine bus where people could receive their jab, marquees were also set up to help with the influx of people.
At one point there were so many people lining the streets that traffic came to a standstill, according to a local.
One local person said: "It's unbelievable how many people have turned up.
"There are thousands of all ages and ethnicities queuing patiently to get a jab.
"The vaccinators seem to be accepting anyone and everyone."
On Friday, hundreds queued up at a vaccine centre in Formby, Sefton, after a Facebook announcement that all over-20s would be eligible for the jab at that hub.
Watch: Surge testing for Indian and South African variants under way across England