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Delays for NHS Covid booster jabs as test supplies suspended

Britain’s National Health service found itself under pressure once again as people rushed to get Covid booster jabs and the first death was reported from the Omicron variant of the virus, with reports of long queues at vaccination centres and online booking systems crashing.
Local media reported wait times of up to five hours as the government opened bookings for people 30 to 39 in England. The NHS website was also said to be repeatedly crashing due to the surge in demand.

The chaos increased as lateral flow tests orders via the government’s website had to be temporarily suspended “due to exceptionally high demand”, the UK Health Security Agency (UKHSA) said.

“Everyone who needs a lateral flow test can collect test kits – either at their local pharmacy, some community sites and some schools and colleges,” the UKHSA said in a statement.

“Due to exceptionally high demand, ordering lateral flow tests on gov.uk has been temporarily suspended to fulfil existing orders.”

The statement came less than half an hour UK Prime Minister Boris Johnson told broadcasters there was still a “ready supply” of lateral flow tests as the government imposed a requirement that daily testing would become mandatory for anyone double-jabbed who comes into contact with a Covid-19 case.

The move comes following a significant rise in Omicron infections in the UK with the variant expected to become the dominant strain in the UK by mid-December.

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