Councillor Andy Morgan, Bolton council’s cabinet member for adult social services, insisted the council had been given some “flexibility” to vaccinate younger people, and would be offering vaccines to all over 18s in the three worst affected wards from Saturday.
He said: “Our interpretation of the guidance is that we can start to vaccinate 18s and over in BL3 [the affected postcode] tomorrow, subject to vaccination supply.”
He added: “We’ve got some flexibility locally to surge-vaccinate, but the biggest thing for Bolton is not being locked down, which would have been devastating for the town.
David Greenhalgh [Bolton’s council leader] has been lobbying every man and a dog all day on that, so we are relieved,” said Morgan.
The Conservative leader of Bolton Council, David Greenhalgh, was disappointed that the government refused his plea for all adults in the worst affected wards in Bolton to be offered the vaccine.
Though Johnson did not announce a local lockdown for Bolton, Greenhalgh fears that the district could still be subject to tighter restrictions.
He said: “Yes, our rates of the Indian variant are going up, but while hospitalisations remain low and all evidence points to the effectiveness of the vaccine , the administration’s message to Government is ‘do not lock us down. Do not take us out of the road map.
“The majority of our cases are in their teens, 20s and 30s. Send us more vaccinations and allow us to vaccinate 18years+ now, that is the answer, not further restrictions.
“We have been here before. All that will happen is people will travel outside the borough, sometimes 50 yards up the road across a boundary to access hospitality. It does not work. And our hospitality is left struggling again, and on its knees.
“More targeted vaccines please and allow us to re-open.”