Ministers are targeting a return to half a million UK Covid jabs a day as the waiting time for boosters was cut to three months in a bid to outpace the Omicron variant that scientists believe is already spreading in the community.
Confirmed Omicron cases rose to 11 in England and Scotland on Monday, with scientific advisers braced for hundreds more to be detected in the next week or so.
The NHS is set to confirm an expansion of the vaccine programme this week after the government’s advisers said all adults should be offered boosters and made the surprise recommendation of a three- rather than six-month wait after a second dose.
A senior government source told the Guardian ministers were aiming for a “significant acceleration” from the current 2.4m boosters a week to about 3.5m or 500,000 a day – a return to the huge national effort seen in the early days of the vaccination campaign. “That is the early plan but it won’t happen overnight,” they said.