The Government wants to see one million people per day given their Covid-19 booster jabs, in a bid to protect the public from a ‘tidal wave of Omicron‘.
Boris Johnson announced this weekend that the booster programme would be ‘turbo charged’, with all adults over 18 eligible to book their jabs from Wednesday.
People aged 30 and over are eligible to book their vaccination now, and those younger may be able to get theirs at walk-in sites.
The UK’s Covid Alert Level was raised from level 3 to level 4 over the weekend by chief medical officers, owing to the rapid spread of the Omicron variant.
The newer variant is expected to become the dominant strain by mid-December as cases are doubling every two to three days.
Speaking to the nation yesterday, the Prime Minister said: “I am afraid we are now facing an emergency in our battle with the new variant, Omicron, and we must urgently reinforce our wall of vaccine protection to keep our friends and loved ones safe.”
He continued: “We know from bitter experience how these exponential curves develop.
“No-one should be in any doubt: there is a tidal wave of Omicron coming, and I’m afraid it is now clear that two doses of vaccine are simply not enough to give the level of protection we all need.
“But the good news is that our scientists are confident that with a third dose – a booster dose – we can all bring our level of protection back up.”
Here’s what you need to know about booking your booster jab.
Who is eligible for a Covid-19 booster?
Anyone aged 30 and older is now able to book in for their Covid-19 booster jab, as long as it has been at least three months since you had your second dose of the vaccine.
Anyone over the age of 18 is also eligible for a booster jab, but won’t be able to pre-book on Wednesday December 15.
People in this age group may be able to get their jab at a walk-in vaccination centre.
Other groups who are eligible to book a booster are those who live and work in care homes, frontline health and social care workers, and over 16s with underlying health conditions.
Some of the largest local sites include a walk-in at the Town Hall extension in the city centre, a Pfizer centre at the Etihad Tennis Centre, and the Clarendon Leisure Centre in Salford.
Featured image: GOV.uk
The UK could be at risk of a roast potato shortage this Christmas
Ok, we don’t mean to alarm you but, according to the latest reports, Christmas dinner plates could be at risk of scrimping on a major component as there is a threat of a roast potato shortage this holiday season.
Please, for the love of all things holy and festive, no — we’ll do anything protect our roasties and gravy.
While there’s often talk of supermarket shortages and supply problems when it comes to the busiest time of year, it seems that the Great British potato-loving people might genuinely have to cut back on the amount of roast spuds we were intending over the next few months due to recent storms.
Following what has already gone down as one of the toughest harvest on record, the yield of potato crops have been hit hard by the ‘Autumn washout’, with fields being waterlogged by the likes of Storm Babet, Ciarán, Debi and more, meaning that farmers have been unable to harvest lots of their produce.
Farmer James Lacey explained how there is around £200,000 worth of potatoes that he and his team simply can’t harvest and that they are struggling to hold on to those already pulled out, as even such sturdy vegetables as potatoes just “don’t like this kind of weather and aren’t storing very well”.
This is just the story of farmer’s plot of land too; unfortunately, current figures project that roughly 20% of this autumn’s potato crop has been flooded and will likely be unsalvageable, with the majority of rotting spuds only fit for animal feed.
Although the figures are still unclear, it is estimated that the latest potato crop is tipped for a record low of 4.1 milllon tonnes — for context, on average and in their various forms, Brits eat around 250m potatoes at Christmas every year.
Sadly, it doesn’t stop there either as due to the almost unprecedented rainfall over the last few months and back-to-back storms, combined with the increasingly frosty conditions now creeping across the UK, the likes of broccoli, carrots, parnsips are all under threat.
As a result, retailers are already being forced to supplement their supplies from cold storage which, obviously, isn’t endless.
With shortages of different vegetables are increasing week upon week and as well as the impact it is having in restaurants already, the knock-on effect it may have on supermarkets with people raiding the freezers to get frozen roasties at the ready just in case could be massive.
The recent miserable weather isn’t getting any better either as the North West is one of many regions that has been hit by a cold snap this week, with the Met Office and UKHSA issuing an amber health alert.
Manchester secures £5.2m funding to build ‘supported accommodation’ for rough sleepers
Manchester has secured a whopping £5.2 million in funding to build new ‘supported accommodation’ designed to house rough sleepers.
After an application submitted to the Department for Levelling Up, Housing and Communities’ Single Homelessness Accommodation Programme (SHAP) has been approved this week, Manchester City Council says it’s eager to help the former homeless “rebuild their lives”.
This means that, by working in partnership with housing and support providers Humankind, Jigsaw, and Great Places, the Council will oversee the creation of 42 units of supported housing across three different schemes.
The schemes are for single people with a history of rough sleeping and longer-term support needs.
According to the Council, these people will stay in this accommodation and receive personalised support until they are ready to “take the next step to independent living”.
This new £5.2 million funding allocation from the Government covers both the cost of creating the accommodation – which must be completed by March 2025 at the latest – and revenue funding to help run it for its first three years of opening.
“We are working with a range of partners to tackle the homelessness challenge on all fronts, from prevention in the first place to helping people into permanent, settled homes,” explained Cllr Joanna Midgley, who is the Deputy Leader of Manchester City Council.
“Securing this £5.2m funding for the city will help us create much-needed extra accommodation for those being helped off the streets who need significant long-term support before they are ready to live independently.
“It’s only part of a wider response but it will be a welcome addition to the accommodation and support available.”
The news of the successful application comes after the Council published its plan to get rough sleepers off the streets of Manchester and into temporary accommodation this winter back in early November.