Thousands queue at Bolton ‘vaccine bus’ as India variant surges

·3 min read
Thousands of people are queued Bolton on saturday. (SWNS)
Thousands of people are queued Bolton on saturday. (SWNS)

Thousands of people queued up along streets in Bolton to get a jab at a “vaccine bus” as the Indian coronavirus variant surges in the area. 

The government is becoming increasingly concerned with the spread of the B1.617.2 variant in areas of the UK, especially the North West where the rate is rising the quickest.

Figures from Public Health England (PHE) have shown Indian variant cases rose from 520 to 1,313 this week in the UK, with the agency saying infections were “rising in the community” and it was assessing the impact and severity.

According to data compiled by the PA press agency, Bolton now has the highest rate of new infections in England, with 657 new cases in the seven days to May 10 – the equivalent of 228.5 cases per 100,000 people. 

Read: Indian COVID variant could jeopardise 21 June unlocking plans, Boris Johnson warns

As a result, the vaccine bus was set up to increase uptake in the area. 

Queues of people could be seen lining the streets on Saturday afternoon after it emerged that the bus had 4,000 available vaccines which had to be used that day.

People could be seen braving the weather to queue through the streets.
People could be seen braving the weather to queue through the streets. (SWNS)

Pictures showed people standing in the rain with umbrellas and face masks as the queues stretched back along residential roads. 

Bolton residents turned up for a jab after a local councillor wrote on Twitter that all ages could turn up to the vaccine bus that day for a jab.

Watch: Young people queue for vaccines in Sefton amid rise in Indian variant

He posted: "Urgent. Please share. Anyone with a Bolton Postcode and registered with a Bolton GP can visit the vaccine bus at the @EssaAcademy vaccination site and #GetVaccinated.

"The team will find a reason to vaccinate you. Closes at 5pm. The 4,000 vaccines must be used today."

The vaccine bus and marquees were used to give out the vaccines. (SWNS)
The vaccine bus and marquees were used to give out the vaccines. (SWNS)

Crowds soon formed a queue which was estimated to be around 1,200ft long.

Meanwhile, the site was being manned by 42 officials carrying out vaccinations.

While the centre had a vaccine bus where people could receive their jab, marquees were also set up to help with the influx of people. 

A local councillor took to Twitter at around 2.30pm to tell locals anyone with a city postcode who's registered with a GP can visit a vaccination centre outside the Essa Academy school.  (SWNS)
A local councillor took to Twitter at around 2.30pm to tell locals anyone with a city postcode who's registered with a GP can visit a vaccination centre outside the Essa Academy school. (SWNS)

At one point there were so many people lining the streets that traffic came to a standstill, according to a local.

One local person said: "It's unbelievable how many people have turned up.

"There are thousands of all ages and ethnicities queuing patiently to get a jab.

Read more: 10 worst-hit COVID areas in England amid concerns over Indian variant COVID Wuhan lab leak theory 'must not be ruled out', leading scientists say

"The vaccinators seem to be accepting anyone and everyone."

On Friday, hundreds queued up at a vaccine centre in Formby, Sefton, after a Facebook announcement that all over-20s would be eligible for the jab at that hub. 

Watch: Surge testing for Indian and South African variants under way across England

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