Scramble to get boosters: Long queues at walk-in centres, NHS booking site keeps crashing – and armed forces brought in to help

UK

Long queues are forming at COVID vaccination centres and there are reports of the NHS booking site repeatedly crashing as people scramble to get their booster jabs ahead of Christmas.

There are lengthy lines outside vaccination centres as people wait to get their booster shots.

One queue at St Thomas’ Hospital in central London snakes around several streets and the back of the queue is on Westminster Bridge.

People near the front say they’ve been waiting around two hours.

There are also problems with the NHS website, which people say has been repeatedly crashing as they tried to book their booster jabs.

Glitches preventing people from booking boosters – live updates

One error message said the NHS website was “currently experiencing technical difficulties”.

More on Covid-19

Others reported being stuck in a queue while trying to book their booster through the NHS website, with the warning: “Lots of people are trying to book an appointment at the moment.”

The NHS in England also advised people trying to book a booster to try again later on Monday or on Tuesday as people faced issues.

In a tweet, the health service said: “The Covid vaccine booking service is currently facing extremely high demand so is operating a queuing system.

“For users aged 18-29, please be aware that booking opens on Wednesday 15 Dec.

“For all others experiencing waits, we would advise trying again later today or tomorrow.”

Last night, the PM launched a “national mission” called Omicron Emergency Boost.

This morning, Health Secretary Sajid Javid urged people to get their booster jab as soon as possible, warning that “two doses are not enough, but three doses provide excellent protection against symptomatic infection”.

He said the UK is expanding its booster programme “to a level we’ve never seen before”.

It means there will be more vaccination centres, and they will be open seven days a week for at least 12 hours a day, with some staying open for 24 hours, Mr Javid said.

More than 40% of UK adults have already

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