Queue for FREEDOM: Covid jab lines stretch for ‘MILES’

Young people in London and Scotland today formed huge queues reportedly stretching miles to get vaccinated as the NHS began offering jabs to over-18s as the Indian variant puts so-called ‘Freedom Day’ under threat. 

Footage from Troon, South Ayrshire showed a line of young people queuing for up to three hours to use the town’s drop-in vaccination centre at Walker Hall, which is offering jabs until 6pm.

Meanwhile in Stanmore, Greater London, Belmont Health Centre saw long queues over the weekend after opening for walk-in appointments to over-18s who live or work in Harrow and have yet to have their first jabs. 

It comes as daily coronavirus cases rose 65 per cent in a week to 5,341, while 33,496 cases were recorded over the last seven day – an increase of 11,022, or nearly 50 per cent, on the previous week. 

Deaths fell in a week from six to four as evidence of the efficacy of the vaccines mounts, as official figures reveal 76.6 per cent of adults have now received their first vaccine jab, and 52.5 per cent have had their second dose.

But Cabinet ministers have admitted they are ‘open’ to delay the final lockdown easing on June 21 if coronavirus data turns ‘bad’ in the next week, and are understood to be making contingency plans to keep restrictions such as masks and work-from-home guidance in place beyond ‘Freedom Day’.

Asked if the easing could be postponed if the data on cases and hospitalisations turns sour, Health Secretary Matt Hancock said: ‘We are absolutely open to doing that, if that is what needs to happen.

‘We have said in the roadmap that the 21st of June is the date by which we would not take step 4 before that date and we would look at the data. That is exactly what we are doing.’

Asked if the wearing of face coverings and work from home measures could continue in the long-term, the Health Secretary added: ‘Yes, I wouldn’t rule that out.’

Today’s vaccine centre scenes are reminiscent of those outside University College London yesterday where supplies ran out at a clinic held by NHS Camden. 

NHS Ayrshire & Arran officials said that the busiest time was first thing in the morning as hopefuls had arrived before the centre opened – but by 11.30am the queues had died down to a wait of less than 30 minutes, falling to five minutes later on. 

At 3.14pm the health service had said that there is currently ‘no queue’, adding that those who attend must be an adult living in Ayrshire who has not had a first dose of vaccine and does not yet have a blue appointment letter.    

In other coronavirus developments: 

  • Ex-PM Tony Blair called for vaccinated Britons to be released from coronavirus restrictions saying it is ‘time to distinguish for the purposes of freedom’ between those who have been jabbed and those who have not.
  • Vaccinations could be offered to schoolchildren aged between 12 and 15 as early as August, as Health Secretary Matt Hancock warns of a surge in Covid-19 cases in schoolchildren. 
  • Boris Johnson plans to use the G7 summit to secure a global pledge to vaccinate the world’s population against Covid-19 by the end of 2022.  
  • Matt Hancock was accused of working with Michael Gove and ‘killing British travel abroad’ amid a furious Cabinet row over foreign holidays.







Queues for the walk-in Covid vaccination centre in Troon. Footage taken in Troon, South Ayrshire, at around 9am today shows a line of people facing the 'hours long' wait to use the town's drop-in vaccination centre at Walker Hall, which is offering jabs until 6pm

Queues for the walk-in Covid vaccination centre in Troon. Footage taken in Troon, South Ayrshire, at around 9am today shows a line of people facing the 'hours long' wait to use the town's drop-in vaccination centre at Walker Hall, which is offering jabs until 6pm

Queues for the walk-in Covid vaccination centre in Troon. Footage taken in Troon, South Ayrshire, at around 9am today shows a line of people facing the ‘hours long’ wait to use the town’s drop-in vaccination centre at Walker Hall, which is offering jabs until 6pm

Footage taken in Troon, South Ayrshire, at around 9am today shows a line of people facing the 'hours long' wait to use the town's drop-in vaccination centre at Walker Hall, which is offering jabs until 6pm

Footage taken in Troon, South Ayrshire, at around 9am today shows a line of people facing the 'hours long' wait to use the town's drop-in vaccination centre at Walker Hall, which is offering jabs until 6pm

NHS Ayrshire & Arran officials said that the busiest time was first thing in the morning as hopefuls had arrived before the centre opened - but by 11.30am the queues had died down to a wait of less than 30 minutes, falling to five minutes later on

NHS Ayrshire & Arran officials said that the busiest time was first thing in the morning as hopefuls had arrived before the centre opened - but by 11.30am the queues had died down to a wait of less than 30 minutes, falling to five minutes later on

Footage taken in Troon, South Ayrshire, at around 9am today shows a line of people facing the ‘hours long’ wait to use the town’s drop-in vaccination centre at Walker Hall, which is offering jabs until 6pm. NHS Ayrshire & Arran officials said that the busiest time was first thing in the morning as hopefuls had arrived before the centre opened – but by 11.30am the queues had died down to a wait of less than 30 minutes, falling to five minutes later on

View of the vaccination centre at Elizabethan Suite, Bury, June 6. It came as Matt Hancock today warned that ministers are 'open' to delaying England's June 21 Freedom Day if data on Covid cases 'turns bad' in the next week

View of the vaccination centre at Elizabethan Suite, Bury, June 6. It came as Matt Hancock today warned that ministers are 'open' to delaying England's June 21 Freedom Day if data on Covid cases 'turns bad' in the next week

View of the vaccination centre at Elizabethan Suite, Bury, June 6. It came as Matt Hancock today warned that ministers are ‘open’ to delaying England’s June 21 Freedom Day if data on Covid cases ‘turns bad’ in the next week

People line up to receive a vaccination on June 6, 2021 in Stanmore, Greater London. Belmont Health Centre saw long queues over the weekend after opening for walk-in appointments to over-18s who live or work in Harrow and have yet to have their first Covid-19 vaccinations

People line up to receive a vaccination on June 6, 2021 in Stanmore, Greater London. Belmont Health Centre saw long queues over the weekend after opening for walk-in appointments to over-18s who live or work in Harrow and have yet to have their first Covid-19 vaccinations

People line up to receive a vaccination on June 6, 2021 in Stanmore, Greater London. Belmont Health Centre saw long queues over the weekend after opening for walk-in appointments to over-18s who live or work in Harrow and have yet to have their first Covid-19 vaccinations

Some vaccine hopefuls had started queuing as early as 5am in a bid to be among the first 450 people given a ticket to receive their jab, but thousands of students were later turned away.

And today the Science Museum, which is being used as a coronavirus vaccination centre, was evacuated for an hour ‘as a precaution’ amid reports of a ‘suspicious bag’.  

But the museum’s Twitter account revealed at 2.50pm that the venue has reopened to visitors.

The museum had offered its premises for use as a vaccination centre, and those who attended would be able to see a quick preview of its new Covid display.

The Health Secretary made positive noises today about the link between cases and people going to hospital being loosened by vaccines as the Indian variant drove infections to more than 6,000 a day on Friday.

The Health Secretary made positive noises today about the link between cases and people going to hospital being loosened by vaccines as the Indian variant drove infections to more than 6,000 a day on Friday.

The Health Secretary made positive noises today about the link between cases and people going to hospital being loosened by vaccines as the Indian variant drove infections to more than 6,000 a day on Friday.

Hunter Street Health Centre, London: Many of the young people queuing up for their jabs were students attending universities across London

Hunter Street Health Centre, London: Many of the young people queuing up for their jabs were students attending universities across London

Hunter Street Health Centre, London: Many of the young people queuing up for their jabs were students attending universities across London 

Hundreds of young people queued outside the Hunter Street Health Centre in London this afternoon despite the glorious weather so they could receive a Covid-19 jab

Hundreds of young people queued outside the Hunter Street Health Centre in London this afternoon despite the glorious weather so they could receive a Covid-19 jab

Hundreds of young people queued outside the Hunter Street Health Centre in London this afternoon despite the glorious weather so they could receive a Covid-19 jab

The Science Museum has been evacuated 'as a precaution', staff at the London venue have said

The Science Museum has been evacuated 'as a precaution', staff at the London venue have said

The Science Museum has been evacuated ‘as a precaution’, staff at the London venue have said

Boris Johnson calls for globe to be vaccinated within 18 months 

Boris Johnson will use the G7 summit to secure a global pledge to vaccinate the world’s population against Covid-19 by the end of 2022.

The Prime Minister will call on world leaders to agree a plan to end the pandemic by ensuring every person has access to a jab within the next 18 months.

He hailed the summit, which will be held in Cornwall, as ‘historic’. The G7 starts on Friday, when the leaders will gather for a face-to-face meeting.

Mr Johnson said the premiers – which include United States President Joe Biden on his first foreign visit since taking office – must use the event to ‘rise to the greatest challenge’ since the war.

Speaking ahead of the summit, Mr Johnson said: ‘The world is looking to us to rise to the greatest challenge of the post-war era: defeating Covid and leading a global recovery driven by our shared values.

‘Vaccinating the world by the end of next year would be the single greatest feat in medical history.

‘I’m calling on my fellow G7 leaders to join us to end to this terrible pandemic and pledge will we never allow the devastation wreaked by coronavirus to happen again.’

The leaders of the G7 will arrive in Carbis Bay, Cornwall, for three days of meetings.

They will be joined virtually by experts, including the UK Government’s Chief Scientific Adviser Sir Patrick Vallance, environmentalist Sir David Attenborough and philanthropist Melinda Gates.

On Saturday, the G7 leaders will be joined either in person or virtually by their counterparts from Australia, South Africa, South Korea and India to discuss health and climate change.

The Prime Minister is expected to call for a stepping up of the manufacture of vaccines, lowering barriers to the international distribution of jabs and sharing surplus doses with developing countries, both bilaterally and through Covax, a World Health Organisation scheme.

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Empty vials of the first vaccines use across the world are being showcased along a timeline of important objects from the history of vaccines. 

Also among the collection are homemade masks, Covid-themed greetings cards, recording the current crisis so future generations can learn from it. 

The museum’s director Sir Ian Blatchford had told the FT: ‘Our museum can both tell the story of how vaccination has saved millions of lives, and also play a part in ensuring vaccines protect the nation from Covid-19.

‘It is an extraordinary sensation to be collecting and living history all at once.’

A total of 57,193,641 Covid-19 vaccinations took place in England between December 8 and June 5, according to NHS England data, including first and second doses, which is a rise of 590,645 on the previous day.

NHS England said 33,700,486 were the first dose of a vaccine, a rise of 175,001 on the previous day, while 23,493,155 were a second dose, an increase of 415,644.

Northern Ireland recorded 69 new cases, Scotland saw 775, and Wales has 92 new cases. There were no new deaths recorded for any of them. 

Covid cases had jumped by 70 per cent in a week on Saturday, reaching 5,765.  

This was down slightly from Friday, which saw Britain record its highest number of new confirmed coronavirus cases – 6,238 – since late March, according to official figures.  

Stats from the Office for National Statistics (ONS) suggested the number of people who had the virus in England has increased by around three-quarters in a week, taking it to its highest tally since mid-April, with the R value between 1 and 1.2.

Several reports have suggested plans to lift all Covid restrictions on June 21 could be scaled down, with social distancing and the wearing of face coverings set to continue. 

Government sources had told ITV News plans are being made to push the lifting of coronavirus measures back to July 5 to allow more people to get the second dose of Covid vaccinations.

And a government scientist has warned that pushing ahead with a full reopening later this month in England would be ‘foolish’ and a ‘major risk’.  

Prof Stephen Reicher, a member of the Scientific Pandemic Insights Group on Behaviours (Spi-B) which advises the Government, said the criteria about the current assessment of the risks not being fundamentally changed by new variants of concern is ‘not upheld’.

‘I think by the Government’s own criteria it’s quite clear that it would be foolish to proceed on the data that we’ve got at the moment. The risk would be very great indeed,’ the professor said.

‘And of course it’s a balance of risks but I think it would be a major risk to go further in opening up.’

He added: ‘Again, I make the point that it is about data not dates, and if you make it too much about the dates then you box yourself into a corner and I think that’s what the Government has done.’

Saturday was the third day in a row that saw cases exceed 5,000.   

Thirteen more Covid deaths had been reported on Saturday — rising 85.7 per cent on the previous Saturday’s figure.  

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