| 27 May 2024, Monday |

New booster target as Boris Johnson declares Omicron ’emergency’

Booster shots will be available to everyone over the age of 18 in England beginning this week, according to the Prime Minister, who proclaimed a “Omicron emergency.”

“There is a tidal wave of Omicron coming,” Boris Johnson warned in a television broadcast on Sunday evening.

The goal of vaccinating all adults by the end of January will be pushed back a month, he added.

Some medical visits may be rescheduled in order to focus on boosters.

Johnson’s Covid update came only hours after the UK’s Covid warning level was increased to four owing to the outbreak of a new Omicron virus type.

Degree four indicates a high or growing level of transmission, and the UK was last at level four in May.

“I’m afraid we’re now in an emergency situation in our war with the new strain Omicron,” Mr Johnson added.

“It is now evident that two doses of vaccination are just insufficient to provide the amount of protection that we all require.” The good news is that our experts are certain that with a third treatment, a booster dose, we will all be able to restore our level of protection.”

“At this moment, our scientists cannot conclude that Omicron is less severe,” he continued.

“And even if that were true, we already know it is so much more transmissible that a wave of Omicron across a population that had not been boosted would risk a level of hospitalisation that may overwhelm our NHS and lead to many fatalities.”

The revised booster aim means that anyone aged 18 and up in England will be eligible to have their third shots starting this week, as long as their second dosage was three months ago.

However, Mr Johnson stated that in order to meet the revised jab target, certain additional medical visits will have to be rescheduled for the New Year. Some GPs are already permitted to postpone normal health exams in order to make room for vaccines.

In addition, the Prime Minister stated:

  • 42 military planning teams will be deployed across every region to help the effort
  • extra vaccine sites and mobile units will be set up across England
  • opening hours of clinics will be extended with more appointments
  • thousands more volunteer vaccinators will be trained

According to preliminary research, receiving a third booster dosage avoids around 75% of persons from experiencing Covid symptoms as a result of Omicron.

On Saturday, more than 500,000 booster injections and third doses were administered in the United Kingdom, the second day since the booster rollout began.