December 31, 2021
Door-to-door teams armed with Covid jabs will be sent to the homes of unvaccinated Britons in plans being considered by Ministers to reach the estimated five million people yet to be inoculated.
Discussions between the Department of Health, NHS England and No 10 over the past week have looked at a nationwide drive to send vaccine teams to areas with low uptake rates as a crucial way to avoid lockdown and other restrictions.
It is also seen as a way to get jabs to rural areas or households where people cannot easily get to a vaccination centre.
However, it is understood school closures are not being considered for January, with a source close to Education Secretary Nadhim Zahawi saying: 'The PM and Nadhim are fully committed to keeping schools open, and there's a shared commitment across Government to do so.
'Education is a top priority and school closures are not something being considered.'
One Cabinet Minister last night backed the plan, saying: 'I think anything that encourages the vaccine-hesitant is sensible,' before warning: 'The mood in the country is hardening against people who refuse to be vaccinated.
This comes as SAGE warned the UK is about to be hit by a large wave of COVID hospitalizations and the peak could be even higher than last winter despite the reduced severity of Omicron.
In minutes from a meeting on December 23 published last night, the Government's Scientific Advisory Group for Emergencies warned that the peak on hospital admissions 'may be comparable to or higher than previous peaks' – including the second wave in January.
But MPs and hospitality bosses have warned Boris Johnson not to bring in new restrictions before New Year's Eve or risk 'devastating' businesses.