Home   News   Article

Subscribe Now

Every adult to be offered Covid-19 booster jab by end of December amid fear over ‘tidal wave of Omicron’

Every adult in England will now be offered a Covid-19 booster jab amid concerns that a “tidal wave of Omicron” is coming that could cause “very many deaths”.

Prime Minister Boris Johnson made a pre-recorded address to the nation on Sunday evening (December 12) in which he said Britain “must urgently reinforce our wall of vaccine protection”.

Prime Minister Boris Johnson recorded an address to the nation at Downing Street. Picture: Kirsty O’Connor/PA
Prime Minister Boris Johnson recorded an address to the nation at Downing Street. Picture: Kirsty O’Connor/PA

He brought forward the deadline for offering everyone over 18 their booster jab from the end of January to the end of December, announcing an extraordinary effort to meet the challenging target.

Mr Johnson said that scientists had discovered two jabs are “simply not enough” to prevent the highly mutated Omicron variant of Covid-19 from spreading rapidly.

Data published on Friday (December 10) suggests that vaccine efficacy against symptomatic infection is substantially reduced against Omicron with just two doses, but a third dose boosts protection back up to over 70 per cent.

Without a dramatic acceleration of the booster campaign, it is feared the NHS could be overwhelmed. There are now patients known to be in hospital with the variant.

From Monday (December 13), adults over 30 who had a second dose of a vaccine at least three months ago will be able to book their booster at nhs.uk/covidvaccine or, if they haven’t got internet access, by calling 119.

From Wednesday (December 15), that will be extended to all those aged 18-29.

Mr Johnson noted that “in some cases you can walk in from tomorrow”, but in Cambridgeshire and Peterborough, boosters were withdrawn from walk-in services as of Saturday (December 11) and made available by appointment only. Some neighbouring counties, however, are offering boosters on a walk-in basis.

A spokesperson for Cambridgeshire and Peterborough Clinical Commissioning Group told the Cambridge Independent on Sunday evening, after the PM’s announcement: “We are working to increase vaccination appointments across our area as swiftly as possible. We’ve just had the national release, and will be focusing on bookable capacity in the first instance as per the national statement.”

Meanwhile, more volunteers are urgently required in Cambridgeshire and Peterborough to help with the programme.

“We definitely do need more volunteers,” said the spokesperson. “For those wanting to undertake roles such as stewards at our vaccination sites we are asking they register via the Royal Volunteer Service: https://www.goodsamapp.org/NHSvolunteerresponders.

“Further information on paid roles, which we would also welcome more people to apply for, can be found here: https://www.england.nhs.uk/coronavirus/join-the-nhs-covid-19-vaccine-team/.”

The booster roll-out is being rapidly accelerated. Picture: Niall Carson/PA (53661909)
The booster roll-out is being rapidly accelerated. Picture: Niall Carson/PA (53661909)

The mission to administer something like a million jabs across the country per day until December 31 will involve 50 military planning experts being 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. On Saturday, more than half a million boosters were administered.

The Prime Minister said: “We’ve already seen hospitalisations doubling in a week in South Africa and we have patients with Omicron here in the UK right now.

“At this point our scientists cannot say that Omicron is less severe.

“And even if that proved to be true we already know it is so much more transmissible that a wave of Omicron through a population that was not boosted would risk a level of hospitalisation that could overwhelm our NHS and lead sadly to very many deaths.

“So we must act now. Today we are launching the Omicron emergency booster national mission, unlike anything we’ve done before in the vaccination programme, to get boosted now.

“A fortnight ago I said we would offer every eligible adult a booster by the end of January.

“Today in light of this Omicron emergency I’m bringing that target forward by a whole month.

“Everyone eligible aged 18 and over in England will have the chance to get their booster before the new year.”

On Sunday evening, the NHS booking website said: “The NHS is working on plans to offer:

  • a booster dose to everyone aged 18 to 39 years old
  • a booster dose to people aged 16 years old and over with a severely weakened immune system
  • a 2nd dose to all children aged 12 to 15 years old who are not already eligible

“Please note that these are not yet available to book using this service.”

The website is due to be updated by Monday.

The news came as the UK Covid alert level was raised to Level 4, up from Level 3, following a rapid increase in the number of Omicron cases being recorded.

The recommendation was made to ministers by the country’s four chief medical officers and NHS England’s national medical director following advice from the UK Health Security Agency (UKHSA).

The UK, as of Sunday, recorded a further 1,239 confirmed cases of the Omicron mutation, bringing the total number of confirmed cases to 3,137 – a 65 per cent increase from Saturday’s total of 1,898.

But as only minority of tests are sequenced by the Cambridge-led COG-UK Consortium, the true number will be much higher.

Education secretary Nadhim Zahawi has suggested the actual number is likely to be 10 times as high.

Data analysis by the Cambridge Independent has shown that Cambridgeshire had a record number of Covid-19 infections in the week to December 5. Case numbers in Cambridge, South Cambridgeshire and Huntingdonshire in particular exceeded anything seen so far since the start of the pandemic.

One challenge for health authorities is that there are still a substantial number of people who have not had their first or second vaccination.

But data from the Office for National Statistics has repeatedly shown that the unvaccinated account for the majority of people dying from Covid-19.

The Prime Minister, would come into place, revealed that the decision to speed up the jab rate would mean some NHS appointments would need to be postponed until the new year, arguing there would be “even greater” cancellations if the Omicron wave was allowed to rise.

Making a direct plea to GPs, doctors, nurses and others on the NHS front line who he said had “worked incredibly hard” throughout the pandemic, Mr Johnson said: “I must ask you to make another extraordinary effort now, so we can protect you, and your colleagues, and above all protect your patients from even greater pressures next year.”

The Prime Minister said the UK government would support the devolved administrations to “accelerate” their own rollouts of booster jabs.

The Pfizer/BioNTech and Moderna jabs are being used for booster doses in the UK.

Last week, the PM announced the introduction of Plan B restrictions. It means face coverings are now compulsory in most public indoor venues, people are asked to work from home if they can from Monday (December 13), and from Wednesday (December 15) negative lateral flow tests will be needed to enter nightclubs and large events, except for those who are double vaccinated and subject to approval from Parliament.

Vaccination centrse in Cambridgeshire and Peterborough

Some pharmacies are offering vaccinations, and these large-scale vaccination centres are open seven days a week - note that as of Saturday, December 11, boosters were not available on a walk-in basis at these sites. Instead a booking was required. However, first, second and third primary doses are available at these sites on a walk-in basis:

  • The Grafton Centre, Cambridge CB1 1PS - 8.30am-4pm seven days a week and 8.30am-7.30pm on Tuesdays and Wednesdays
  • The Eatons Community Centre, Eaton Socon, St Neots PE19 8ES - 8.30am-4pm seven days a week and 8.30am-7.30pm on Tuesdays
  • The Oaktree Centre, 1 Oak Drive, Huntingdon PE29 7HN - 8.30am-4pm seven days a week and 8.30am-7.30pm on Thursdays
  • Horsefair Shopping Centre, Wisbech, Cambs PE13 1AR - 8.30am-4pm seven days a week and 8.30am-7.30pm on Mondays
  • Queensgate Shopping Centre, Peterborough PE1 1NT - 8.30am-4pm seven days a week and 8.30am-7.30pm on Thursday

Appointment-only large-scale vaccination centre in Cambridge

Chesterton Indoor Bowls Centre, Logan’s Way, Chesterton, Cambridge CB4 1BL - 8.30am-4pm - as of Thursday, December 2, this site is only offering vaccinations that have been booked in advance, due to parking constraints on the site

The times and offer may alter following the government’s announcement. Check for any changes or updates before you go at www.thevaccinators.co.uk.

Read more

Cambridgeshire has more than 4,000 Covid-19 cases in a week amid record highs in Cambridge, South Cambridgeshire and Huntingdonshire

Covid Plan B for England: PM announces work-from-home guidance, new mask rules and NHS Covid Passes as Omicron spreads

Cambridgeshire’s Enhanced Response Area status extended as county reports record numbers of Covid-19 infections

This site uses cookies. By continuing to browse the site you are agreeing to our use of cookies - Learn More