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A new Covid-19 vaccination centre is opening in Chelmsford as the UK’s booster vaccine rollout ramps up in a bid to combat the spread of the new variant.

The vaccine centre is expected to open at Essex County Council’s County Hall headquarters next Tuesday (December 21) and will offer vaccines from a former registration services’ office in Remembrance Square in Market Road.

The new centre will offer first doses, second doses, and booster jabs, and will provide much-needed additional capacity for vaccinations for residents of Chelmsford and the surrounding areas.

Read More: Latest news on Coronavirus

People across the country were left queuing for hours yesterday (December 13) after Boris Johnson announced on Sunday (December 12) that all adults will be offered a third jab by the end of the year to provide extra protection against the Omicron variant.

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Dr Mike Gogarty, Essex County Council’s Director of Public Health, said: “Booster vaccinations are our most important defence against the emergence of the Omicron variant. A booster is not a ‘top up’, it is a huge increase in your ability to fight the virus.

“We know the level of immunoglobulin, the substance that provides immunity by attacking the virus, increases up to 40-fold following a booster.

“Increasing our immunity this winter is incredibly important to minimise the pressure the health service is under and I would urge everyone to come forward to book their booster jab as soon as possible.”

Although the booster vaccine programme is growing, the spread of the Omicron variant is rising much faster than previous variants and is set to become the dominant Covid-19 variant by mid-December.

Officials confirmed the first death from the Omicron variant yesterday (December 13).

However, early data shows a third booster dose prevents about 75% of people from getting any Covid symptoms from Omicron.

The opening of the new centre will help set out the aim to offer all adults booster jab by end of the year. Opening times will be confirmed soon and appointments at the centre will be available to book online.

Everyone over the age of 18 will be able to book their booster vaccine from Wednesday, as long as it is three months after they had their second dose.

More bookable and first come, first served walk-in slots are also being made available in Essex on Saturday 18th December and Sunday 19th December.

Essex Partnership University NHS Foundation Trust is running a pop-up vaccination centre at Chelmsford City Racecourse from 9am to 6pm on both days. To avoid waiting, residents are advised to book in advance.

Cllr John Spence, Essex County Council Cabinet Member for Health and Adult Social Care, said: “Essex County Council were delighted to be able to offer the NHS the use of our premises at County Hall and the fact that this vaccination centre is going live next week is a tribute to the collaborative work between the officers of both organisations.

“We must do all we can to protect our NHS over the festive season so please do book your booster, continue to practice hands, face, space and keep regularly testing for Covid-19.”

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