TENS of thousands of people across Dorset received a Covid-19 booster jab in the past week, new figures reveal.

The booster vaccine rollout has been scaled up in recent days amid concern over the spread of the Omicron variant in the UK, with daily Covid-19 cases reaching record numbers.

But while Prime Minister Boris Johnson has ruled out bringing in new restrictions in England before Christmas, tougher rules could be in force by the New Year in a bid to protect the NHS.

Bournemouth Echo: A walk-in centre in WallisdownA walk-in centre in Wallisdown

Data from the UK coronavirus dashboard shows 75,825 people across the county received a booster or third vaccine dose in the week ending Monday, December 20.

In the BCP Council area at least 33,442 people received a jab - up from 17,524 the previous week, a rise of 91 per cent.

And in the Dorset Council area 42,383 people received a booster in the same week - up from 27,205 the previous week, a 56 per cent rise.

Of the latest seven days, Saturday, December 18 saw the most extra jabs in arms with more than 17,000 administered across the county – the highest number since the NHS booster jab campaign was launched in mid-September.

A total of 180,357 people in the conurbation and 217,261 in Dorset had received a booster or third dose by Monday – more than half of the eligible population.

Bournemouth Echo: Walk-in Covid vaccination site at the Army Reserve Centre in Wallisdown Road, Poole.

Dr Andy Rutland, Clinical lead for the COVID-19 vaccination programme in Dorset said: “Since the start of the booster programme we have put over 380,000 jabs in arms which is an incredible achievement and I would personally like to thank everyone involved, from those who are delivering the vaccinations through to our army of volunteers and the huge amount of people behind the scenes.

“I’d also like to thank the tens of thousands of people who have come forward to get their booster, giving themselves the best possible protection against the virus.

“Whilst there are reports that suggest the Omicron variant is less severe, I would urge anyone who has not taken up the offer of a booster to get theirs as soon as they can. With our ramped up walk-in capacity we can see more people more quickly, so if you have some down time over the coming days please attend a local session and get your jab.

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“Despite it being one of the busiest times of the year in healthcare, the NHS across Dorset has been brilliant in rising to the challenge of boosting the population in defiance of the Omicron variant. GPs, community pharmacists and our community teams have increased capacity with additional vaccinators, more volunteers, ’pop-up’ clinics of all shapes and sizes and greater throughput at all our sites.

“We are confident that we now have the capacity to vaccinate as many as come forward before the end of the year. At the same time, the vast majority of normal healthcare services have been maintained which is a remarkable feat for everyone involved.”