Boris Johnson has said that everyone aged over 18 will have the chance to have a booster by the New Year as he warned of a “tidal wave” of Omicron coming to the UK.
The Prime Minister said from Monday people will be able to walk in for boosters as the target to vaccinate every adult was brought forward a month.
“No one should be in any doubt, there is a tidal wave of Omicron coming,” Mr Johnson said in a TV statement on Sunday evening.
. “And 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.”
He told the public to “get boosted now” to protect our freedoms but the NHS website had crashed by the time the recorded speech ended.
Mr Johnson said scientists had discovered that being fully vaccinated is “simply not enough” to prevent the spread of the coronavirus mutation and that, without a lightning speed mass booster campaign, the NHS could be overwhelmed.
The mission to administer millions of jabs by December 31 will see 42 military planning teams deployed across every health region, extra vaccine sites and mobile units, extended clinic opening hours to allow people to be jabbed around the clock and at weekends, and the training of thousands more volunteer vaccinators.
The message came as the UK Covid Alert Level is increased from Level 3 to Level 4 “in light of the rapid increase in Omicron cases”, the four UK chief medical officers.
Sir Keir Starmer said the Government had Labour’s support to accelerate the booster programme, as he urged the public to “protect our families, friends and the NHS” by getting a top-up jab amid fears over the Omicron variant.
The Labour leader said: “So much has been asked of the British people, and time and again you have risen to the challenge. So let’s keep our foot on the pedal and get Britain boosted to protect our families, friends and NHS.”
The decision to increase the alert level follows advice from the UK Health Security Agency (UKHSA) after a further 1,239 confirmed cases of the Omicron mutation were recorded in the UK as of Sunday.
It brings the total number of UK cases of Omicron to 3,137, a 65 per cent increase from Saturday’s total of 1,898 UK cases.
Increasing the UK Covid alert level to Level 4 means the epidemic is “in general circulation, transmission is high and direct Covid-19 pressure on healthcare services is widespread and substantial or rising”, according to Government guidance.
Mr Johnson finished his address saying people should urge their unavaccinated relatives to get the jab. He said: “We are a great country. We have the vaccines to protect our people.
“So let’s do it. Let’s get boosted now.
“Get boosted now for yourself, for your friends and your family.
“Get boosted now to protect jobs and livelihoods across this country.
“Get boosted now to protect our NHS, our freedoms and our way of life. Get boosted now.”