Britain will begin offering a booster dose of a COVID-19 vaccine to 32 million Britons starting in early September, The Telegraph reported Sunday. The shots will be available in as many as 2,000 pharmacies with the goal of getting them into arms by early December.
The government has been preparing since at least June, when the Joint Committee on Vaccination and Immunization (JCVI) called for a plan to offer the third shot to people 70 years old or older, care home residents and those who are vulnerable for health reasons.
At least 90% of British adults have received at least one shot, but that rate falls to 60% for those 18-30 years old, government figures show.
To encourage younger adults to get vaccinated before colder weather prompts people to spend more time indoors, the Department of Health and Social Care said that restaurants, food delivery services and ride-hailing apps are offering discounts to persuade people to be vaccinated.
“The lifesaving vaccines not only protect you, your loved ones and your community, but they are helping to bring us back together by allowing you to get back to doing the things you’ve missed,” Health Secretary Sajid Javid said, according to the Associated Press.
British Formula 1 driver Lewis Hamilton, who tested positive for COVID-19 in December, said he may be suffering its effects after appearing unwell Sunday after finishing second at the Hungarian Grand Prix.
"I've been fighting all year really with staying healthy after what happened at the end of last year and it's still, it's a battle,” the 36-year-old said after seeing a doctor after the race. "I haven't spoken to anyone about it but I think (the effects of COVID are) lingering. I remember the effects of when I had it and training has been different since then.”
In Berlin, thousands marched Sunday to protest pandemic restrictions and about 600 protesters were detained after clashes with police, the AP reported.
While Germany eased many of its restrictions in May, large gatherings remain banned. The number of new cases of COVID-19, the disease caused by the coronavirus, remain low but are rising. Germany, with a population of 83 million, reported 2,100 new cases Sunday, more than 500 above last Sunday’s number.
Since the pandemic began, it has reported 3.8 million cases and 92,000 deaths.
More than 200 employees at two major hospitals in San Francisco, in the western U.S. state of California, have tested positive for the coronavirus, according to a report Saturday in The New York Times.
Most of the staff members at Zuckerberg San Francisco General and the University of California, San Francisco Medical Center Hospital were fully vaccinated and most of them tested positive for the highly transmissible delta variant of the coronavirus, according to the newspaper.
Only two cases required hospitalization. The hospitalization rate would have been higher without vaccinations, said Dr. Lukejohn Day, Zuckerberg’s chief medical officer.
Johns Hopkins Coronavirus Resource Center said Sunday evening there are 198 million cases of COVID-19, the disease caused by the coronavirus, and 4.2 million deaths globally. The U.S. leads the world in the number of COVID-19 cases, with 35 million, and 613,174 deaths, according to the university.
Some information for this report came from the Associated Press, Agence France-Presse and Reuters.