Government sets new booster target in midst of warnings of Omicron wave
In a televised address to the Nation on Sunday evening, the Prime Minister announced that booster jabs will be offered to everyone over 18 in England from this week. Boris Johnson declared an “Omicron emergency” and said the target to vaccinate all adults by the end of January will be brought forward by a month. The announcement came after the UK’s COVID-19 alert level was raised to four due to the spread of the new Omicron variant.
Level four means a high or rising level of transmission - the last time the UK was at this level was in May.
The new booster target means people aged 18 and over in England will be able to get their third jabs from this week - as long as it has been three months since their second dose.
People aged 30 and over can already book an appointment in advance using the online service from two months after their second dose and over-18s in this position will be able to book from Wednesday.
Some walk-in appointments will be available from Monday for eligible over-18s, depending on location.
But Mr Johnson said that to reach the new jab target, certain other medical appointments would need to be postponed to the New Year. Some GPs are already allowed to postpone routine health checks to make space for vaccinations.
The prime minister also said:
• 42 teams from the military would be deployed across every region to help the effort
• extra vaccine sites and mobile units would be set up across England
• opening hours of clinics would be extended with more appointments
• thousands more volunteer vaccinators would be trained
• the UK government would also give extra support to speed up vaccinations in Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland
Speaking this morning (Monday 13 December), Health Secretary Sajid Javid reported that 10 people in England were currently in hospital with Omicron, with no deaths confirmed. However, 40% of all Covid cases in London are believed to now be the Omicron variant.
Early data suggests that getting a third booster dose gives an individual around 70% to 75% protection against symptomatic infection from Omicron.
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