So where IS the vaccines minister? Sajid Javid sidelines ‘missing Maggie’ Throup and insists he is personally running jab drive amid accusations beleaguered programme lead is MIA
- Government is accelerating the coronavirus booster rollout to combat Omicron
- All adults in England who have had second dose eligible for a booster from today
- Boris Johnson said he wants every eligible adult to have had booster by New Year
- Sajid Javid today said that he is ‘personally running’ the booster jab programme
- It means Vaccines Minister Maggie Throup appears to have been sidelined
Sajid Javid today said he will be ‘personally running’ the nation’s accelerated Covid booster jab programme as he sidelined Vaccines Minister Maggie Throup.
The Health Secretary said he is taking charge of the rollout and will be responsible for ensuring it is a success.
Mr Javid insisted that Ms Throup is ‘doing a really important job’ but his decision to personally lead the initiative is likely to prompt questions over her role.
Sajid Javid today said he will be ‘personally running’ the nation’s accelerated Covid booster jab programme as he sidelined Vaccines Minister Maggie Throup
Mr Javid insisted that Ms Throup is ‘doing a really important job’ but his decision to personally lead the initiative is likely to prompt questions over her role
Every adult will be offered a Covid booster jab by the end of the year under a new Government target. People are pictured this morning queueing at a vaccination centre in London
Boris Johnson announced last night that he was bringing forward his target to offer a jab to every adult by the end of January by one month.
The Prime Minister warned there is a ‘tidal wave of Omicron coming’ and the country ‘must urgently reinforce our wall of vaccine protection’.
The new deadline of jabbing everyone over 18 by the end of December will require the rollout to deliver approximately one million jabs every day.
That is a far higher number than has previously been achieved and there are major questions over how the Government will solve logistical challenges to meet the deadline.
Ms Throup’s predecessor as vaccines minister, Nadhim Zahawi, attended Cabinet and was in charge of the jab rollout.
Ms Throup took over the role at the reshuffle in September this year after Mr Zahawi was promoted to become Education Secretary but she does not attend Cabinet.
Mr Javid was grilled this morning on who is in charge of the accelerated booster programme.
He was told during an interview on BBC Radio 4’s Today programme that Mr Zahawi had previously led the rollout and was asked if Ms Throup is in charge now.
The Health Secretary replied: ‘Maggie Throup is the Vaccines Minister. She is doing a really important job.’
Pressed on if Ms Throup is in charge of the rollout, Mr Javid said: ‘I am personally running this programme.
‘It is the step up that we need, the focus we need, the cooperation that we are getting from Cabinet colleagues and other government bodies.’
According to NHS data, many older age groups who have been eligible to get a Covid booster since September still have double digit percentage figures of people who are yet to get a third dose. Yesterday, the NHS online booking system for Covid boosters was opened up to the over 40s. 81 per cent of people aged 40-to-49 have yet to have a booster.
Above is Britain’s daily vaccinations graph. It shows a lull in rolling out jabs over September and October, which opposition parties today branded as a missed opportunity for the country. Former Conservative ministers and the shadow health secretary have questioned why more was not being done to roll out the jabs in September
Asked if he will personally address any problems with the rollout, he replied: ‘Absolutely and this is what we have been working on now for a few days since we learnt about the vaccines, about the need now more than ever for that booster dose.
‘And by the way, our booster programme is already the most successful in Europe, over 40 per cent of adults already boosted, that is 23million jabs.
‘But we now need to do a lot, lot more and we need people to come forward.’
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