Boris Johnson has given a January deadline for all UK adults to be offered a Covid booster vaccine amid fears over the new Omicron variant.
The Prime Minister has said all adults over the age of 18 will be offered a booster jab by the end of January as cases of the new variant reach 22 in the UK.
Johnson reiterated that the vaccine programme is the UK’s current main line of defence against Covid-19, and said hundreds of military personnel would be helping the NHS to deliver the vaccinations.
At a glance: 5 key points:
- The Covid-19 vaccine booster programme will be scaled up in response to the rising cases of Omicron in the UK
- There are currently 22 confirmed cases in the UK, after it was first recorded in South Africa last week
- Boris Johnson has echoed the Health Secretary Sajid Javid’s words in response to the new variant, saying the vaccine and booster programme will remain the UK’s main line of defence
- Previously, it was announced the booster programme, which had only been open to those aged 40 and above, would be made available to all adults over 18
- In a press conference, Johnson confirmed the programme was being scaled up to offer all adults a booster appointment by the end of January
What did Boris Johnson say?
In a press conference on Tuesday afternoon (30 November), Johnson addressed concerns over rising Omicron cases in the UK.
Despite fears, he urged people not to cancel their Christmas plans, including parties and school nativity plays, adding that he promised to “throw everything” at bolstering the vaccine programme to offer all adults a booster by the end of January.
He said: “We’re going to be throwing everything at it, in order to ensure that everyone eligible is offered that booster in just over two months.”
Johnson also added that at least 400 military personnel would be helping the NHS to deliver the vaccinations and that vaccination centres were “popping up like Christmas trees”.
He said the booster programme would remain the UK;s main line of defence against Covid-19 and the rising Omicron variant.
Restrictions are passed in parliament
Several restrictions have been reintroduced in England after they were passed in a parliamentary vote.
Face coverings are once again required in shops and on public transport, with tighter testing regulations for international travel also introduced.
There has also been the reintroduction of self-isolation period for anyone who comes into contact with confirmed Omicron cases, for both non-vaccinated and fully vaccinated citizens.
Parliament voted for the reimposing of certain restrictions with 431 votes for and 36 votes against.
How many Omicron cases are in the UK?
Currently there are 22 confirmed Omicron cases in the UK.
The remaining 13 cases of the Omicron variant were found in England.
Sajid Javid said: “The cases that we identified at the start of the weekend, we were able to confirm quickly that they were linked to travel to South Africa. They were also part of one sort of family cluster.
“The recent cases that we’ve confirmed today, we’re not able to say whether or not, at this point … we don’t know, we’re doing that work right now at speed to determine whether they all have a link to South Africa or not.
“Is there likely to be community transmission? I think we have to be realistic, there is likely to be, as we’re seeing in other European countries.
“And also, as I said earlier … we would expect cases to rise as we now actively look for cases, because now having identified the variant and our concerns around it, UKHSA is actively looking back at anyone who’s travelled to South Africa over the last 10 days or so, and searching for these cases and taking action of course if they find them.”
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