THE UK’S Covid booster programme is to be brought forward by a month with everyone over the age of 18 being offered their third vaccine by new year.
Prime Minister Boris Johnson made the announcement this evening amidst a ‘tidal wave of the Omicron variant heading for the UK’.
Earlier today the UK’s four Chief Medical Officers raised the Covid Alert level to 4, its second highest level, because of evidence Omicron is doubling in the UK every two to three days.
Mr Johnson labelled the situation an ’emergency’ and said the boosters needed to be given so people could keep friends and loved ones safe.
“I’m afraid it is now clear that two doses of vaccine are simply not enough to give the level of protection we all need.
“But the good news is that our scientists are confident that with a third dose – a booster dose – we can all bring our level of protection back up.”
He said some people would question whether the booster would be necessary and if Omicron was less severe than previous variants but the answer was the extra jab was needed.
He added South Africa – where the Omicron variant originated – was now seeing hospitalisations double.
“Today we are launching the Omicron Emergency Boost, a national mission unlike anything we have done before in the vaccination programme – to Get Boosted Now.”
The PM had originally said the target previously was by the end of January but that was now being brought forward to the end of December.
The NHS Booking System is open now for those aged in their 30s and upwards and would be open for over 18s from Wednesday.
To deliver the amount of vaccines needed – some 18million in 19 days across the UK – the military would be drafted in to help and more volunteers would be trained up to be able to give vaccinations.
Click here for the Government’s Covid vaccine booking website.