Maggie Throup questioned by Ben Thompson on booster

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Ben Thompson and Sally Nugent hosted BBC Breakfast on Tuesday morning and welcomed vaccines minister Maggie Throup onto the programme. Thompson grilled the conservative MP over the amount of people getting vaccines. However, he hit out at the politician after she claimed vaccine records were being broken and suggested there had actually been a drop-off in the uptake since Christmas.

Thompson was keen to know how Throup felt the vaccination drive was going in the UK.

He asked: “Are you concerned by the big drop off in the number of people coming forward for a booster or a third dose of the vaccine after Christmas?

“There was a big push, we know, before the Christmas holidays but that number has fallen significantly since the holidays,” Thompson said.

Throup hit back: “Well no, I’m not concerned because people came forward before the holidays, over Christmas, on Christmas Day itself, between Christmas and New year and they continue to come forward.

“75 percent of those who are eligible for the booster have come forward already.

“As we saw, people are so keen to play their part in getting the booster. But, also what is really encouraging as well is those people who hadn’t had their first doses yet were coming forward as well to get that and people were coming forward for their second dose.

“Once again you see whole families coming forward for the children to be vaccinated as well as the parents.

“There’s still plenty of time for people to get their boosters. Some wouldn’t have been able to be boosted because they had a recent infection of Covid.

“So, they are coming forward all the time and obviously people were very keen to get their booster before Christmas, but the slots are there now for people to come forward in their own time as soon as they are eligible.

“Every day we are seeing records being broken, day in day out,” the minister insisted.

However, Thompson replied: “I would question those records being broken.

“I want to put some numbers to you because if we look at before Christmas you say people are still coming forward, 968,000 were vaccinated on the 21st of December, there was then just 400,000 on the 30th and by Sunday that had fallen to 100,000.

“That’s way off that target of a million that were needed every day to hit that target,” he remarked.

“I think you’ve got to remember Sunday is always low,” Throup responded.

“Having 100,000 people coming forward on a Sunday is really encouraging,” she said.

“But, 40 percent of the population still doesn’t have its booster, does it?” Thompson hit back.

“Not everybody is eligible yet and what we’ve seen as well is how many more people have come forward for their first jab because they’ve been encouraged by people coming forward for their booster.

“So, all the time we are making sure that people are protected. It’s our best way to fight this virus.

“It prevents infection, it stops transmission, as well as making sure people aren’t hospitalised and people are not getting seriously ill and that’s all down to the vaccine,” she said.

BBC Breakfast airs weekdays at 6am on BBC One.

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