Brits are being urged to ‘top-up’ their immunity against Covid-19 by getting a booster vaccine before Christmas celebrations.
Health Secretary Sajid Javid has called on the public to get their booster dose ahead of spending time with loved ones, saying the move is “absolutely crucial”.
‘A national mission’
So far, a total of 19.8 million people have received a third vaccine dose, based on figures up to 4 December.
More than 51 million people have now had their first vaccination, while almost 46.5 million have had their second.
The Department of Health and Social care estimated that 20 million people will have received their booster by 5 December.
The booster rollout has been extended to include all over 18s, with the government aiming to offer a vaccine to everyone who is eligible by the end of January.
The extension to the rollout comes following the emergence of the new Omicron Covid-19 variant, which is thought to be more transmissible than previous strains.
Mr Javid has called the plan to offer boosters to all adults a “national mission” and everyone has “a role to play”.
In a statement, he said: “Christmas is around the corner and it’s absolutely crucial that everybody who is eligible gets their booster jab to top-up their immunity before spending time with loved ones.
“While our brilliant scientists learn more about the new Omicron variant, we need to do everything we can to strengthen our defences and vaccines are the best way to do that.
“This is a national mission and we all have a role to play – so roll up your sleeves and get protected as soon as you can.”
When can I get my booster?
NHS England has said the booking system for booster jabs will be updated to reflect the reduced time between doses to three months ‘by December 13’.
The government has cut the waiting time between second and third doses from six months down to three in response to the emergence of the Omicron variant.
In a letter from the health service released on Friday (3 December), it said the jabs would be delivered “in descending age groups, with priority given to the vaccination of older adults and those in a Covid-19 at-risk group first”.
GP surgeries have also been given permission to defer routine health checks for those aged 75 and over to free up capacity to administer booster doses, and the Army and “clinical students” could be called on to help deliver the jabs.
This article originally appeared on our sister site, NationalWorld.