Covid vaccine boosters: Long queues at South West centres as new rollout begins

  • Watch Caron Bell's report

Many people across the West Country have had to travel long distances to get their Covid booster jabs before Christmas - because they have found it difficult to book a vaccination in their nearest town.

The Prime Minister says vaccination clinics will soon be "popping up like Christmas trees" as the government fights the new Omicron variant. 

However across Bristol, North Somerset and South Gloucestershire yesterday (December 01), the only centre open was in Easton in Bristol - with queues lasting up to an hour and a half.

At the moment, anyone aged 40 or over - who has had their second jab at least six months ago - can get a booster. 

'No-one seems willing to give me one despite being eligible'

The NHS has told people to wait until they are invited, but even people who are eligible are having problems booking.

Jordi Hooper, who lives near Yeovil and is clinically vulnerable, told ITV News West Country: "You've got people saying, 'If you want a normal Christmas, get your booster.' And that's what I've been trying to do since the beginning of last month.

“No-one seems willing to give me one despite being eligible, so yeah. It needs to be easy and it needs to be effortless for people to take it up and it's just not there at the moment."

​Jordi Hooper is ​25-years-old from Haselbury Plucknett and, despite being eligible, is unable to get her booster. Credit: ITV West Country

'It's just getting further and further away'

Laura, from Radstock, drove 45 minutes to get her vaccination as there was nothing nearer.

She said: "There was one in Shepton Mallet, and Bath, and they've closed them down, and now it's just getting further and further away, so they suggested Taunton and Yeovil. About an hour."

"We were going to go to Evesham to have it, and then Boris announced that we could get it more local so we've popped down here. We've just got to cancel the other one now."

The government has announced a massive expansion of the vaccine programme in a bid to fight the new Omicron variant. 

Health Secretary Sajid Javid added: "The NHS now is going to expand what is already a hugely successful booster programme to all adults, and reduce the dosing interval to 3 months. I think people should really see this as a national mission."

The Prime Minister has promised all eligible adults will have been offered a booster jab by the end of January.