SOUTHAMPTON MPs have expressed their thoughts on the the Prime Minister’s ramping up of the Covid vaccine booster programme.

In a pre-recorded address on Sunday, December 12, Prime Minister Boris Johnson outlined the new plans to deliver booster jabs to everyone over the age of 18 by the new year.

Mr Johnson also said every adult who had their second vaccine at least three months before will now be able to book a booster jab from Wednesday.


Military planning teams will be brought in across the country to support additional vaccine sites and mobile units and to accelerate the vaccine roll-out, while clinics will extend their opening hours so they are open seven days a week, offering more appointments early in the morning, in the evening and at weekends.

This comes as the number of Omicron cases continues to rise.

Royston Smith, MP for Southampton Itchen, is optimistic in light of the announcement.

Daily Echo: MP Royston SmithMP Royston Smith

He said: "I was pleased to hear of the Prime Minister's ambitions to ramp up the booster vaccine rollout.

"Boosters are our best defence against Omicron and it is right to set out these plans as soon as possible.

"The extension of hours at vaccination centres, mobilising the NHS and training thousands of vaccinators will be crucial to administering such a large number of vaccines and I am sure that local health officials and NHS staff will work hard to meet demand. 

"The sooner we can get more boosters administered, the sooner we can get back to some sort of normality."

MP Dr Alan Whitehead, who represents Southampton Test, said: "I agree with speeding up the roll-out for booster jabs and this was something I called for in the Echo just last week.

Daily Echo: MP Alan WhiteheadMP Alan Whitehead

"I do think that the Prime Minister should have informed health care providers before his announcement.

"However, I know that the fantastic public health team and all others involved will be able to handle the ramp up if given the proper support from the government.

"It is that bit I am worried about."

According to the NHS, more than 110,000 people booked their Covid-19 booster jab before 9am on Monday, December 13, morning. 

NHS chief executive Amanda Pritchard said that the online site was seeing record demand for bookings as the vaccination programme ramps up.

Speaking on Monday, she said: “It is fantastic to see so many people respond to our national mission to offer all adults the chance to get boosted by the end of the year.

“As the NHS rallies to protect the country against the Omicron variant, we need to see the same levels of enthusiasm as we vaccinate the country at speed – so please don’t delay, come forward and book in for your booster today."

Daily Echo: People receiving their Covid booster jabs (PA)People receiving their Covid booster jabs (PA)

The increase in demand has left many people wondering whether Southampton is fully equipped for this increase, especially at such short notice.

The Hampshire, Southampton and Isle of Wight Clinical Commissioning Group (CCG) is reassuring everyone that they will have "sufficient vaccines" to achieve this new target across Hampshire and Isle of Wight.

A spokesperson said: "Teams are working incredibly hard to stand up as much additional capacity as possible across our communities. More availability is coming and we will update you as soon as possible.

"Meanwhile mass vaccination centres at Oakley Road, Southampton, St James's Hospital, Portsmouth & Riverside, Isle of Wight, are open for appointments.

"These sites are not currently offering walk-ins for boosters, but you can walk in for first and second doses.

"Your GP will contact you when it is your turn to receive the jab and we will share details on other ways to access appointments across our communities as soon as possible."

The NHS has advised that the best way to get your booster is by booking online or by calling 119, but if walk in centres have capacity to do so, they can vaccinate adults aged 18 and over immediately.

MPs Caroline Nokes and Paul Holmes were also approached for a comment.