Downing Street vaccines chief returns to speed up Covid booster rollout

·1 min read
 Boris Johnson - Matt Dunham/AFP via Getty Images
Boris Johnson - Matt Dunham/AFP via Getty Images

A leading Number 10 official has been parachuted back into the NHS to oversee the coronavirus booster vaccine scheme amid mounting concern in the Government over the lacklustre rollout.

Dr Emily Lawson helped oversee the first stage of the UK's vaccination programme, which was widely seen as world-leading.

Dr Lawson then became the head of the Downing Street delivery unit – but now, months after going on secondment, will temporarily return to the health service as ministers seek to accelerate the booster programme and ward off the threat of further restrictions this winter.

On Friday, 49,298 new Covid cases and 180 deaths were reported, with the seven-day rate up 18 per cent and 16 per cent respectively.

Speaking to reporters on a visit to a vaccination centre, Boris Johnson insisted there was "nothing to indicate" that a lockdown was on the cards.

But Mr Johnson added: "It's very important that people do follow the guidance on general behaviour, being cautious, wearing masks in confined places where you're meeting people you don't normally meet, wash hands, ventilation, that kind of thing.

"But also get your booster jab. And that's the key message that we want to get across."