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COVID-19: Health Secretary Sajid Javid urges people to get booster jabs to help avoid Christmas restrictions

Written by on 7 November 2021

The health secretary has urged elderly and vulnerable people to get their COVID-19 booster jabs “as soon as you can” to help avoid restrictions being imposed over Christmas.

Around 30% of people aged over 80 and 40% of over-50s in England are yet to receive a top-up jab of the coronavirus vaccine, according to the Department of Health.

Three million more people in England are being invited to have a booster shot next week – and Sajid Javid said he “strongly urges” everybody eligible for the jab to take up the offer.

 Image: Sajid Javid says the UK is facing a ‘challenging winter’

The health secretary said: “We know immunity begins to wane after six months, especially for the elderly and the vulnerable, and booster vaccines will top-up their protection to keep people safe over the winter.

“I strongly urge everybody who is eligible for a COVID-19 booster or flu vaccine to take up the offer as soon as you can.

“For those not yet eligible, please help your parents, grandparents or vulnerable loved ones get their jabs – it could save their life.”

Mr Javid also told anyone who is yet to have their first or second doses of the COVID vaccine, “it is not too late”.

“This truly is a national mission,” he added.

“If we all come together and play our part, we can get through this challenging winter, avoid a return to restrictions and enjoy Christmas.”

Almost 10 million people in the UK have received their top-up jabs of the COVID vaccine, which Mr Javid hailed as “a phenomenal achievement in under two months”.

COVID vaccine booster Image: Almost 10 million people in the UK have received their top-up jabs of the COVID vaccine

The boosters are currently available to those aged over 50 and those deemed most at risk from COVID-19.

Currently, people in England have to wait until six months after their second dose before they are eligible to book their booster jab.

But from Monday, they can make their appointment after five months, although they will still only be able to actually receive the booster after six months.

Mr Javid’s message comes after one of Britain’s top scientists warned the COVID crisis is a “long way from over” and the situation in the UK is “concerning”.

The comments from Sir Jeremy Farrar, director of the Wellcome Trust, came after Sky News revealed he had quit the government’s Scientific Advisory Group for Emergencies (SAGE).

Sir Jeremy has advocated for a “vaccine plus” strategy to curb the high levels of transmission seen in the UK,

His plan calls for more mask wearing, ventilation and continued coronavirus testing to get the nation through what some experts predict will be a difficult winter.

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The government has so far declined to take this route and has not yet adopted a COVID Plan B – tougher measures designed to curb the spread of the virus and protect the NHS.

Prime Minister Boris Johnson has been “clear” the data does not currently back up the need for Plan B, a government spokesperson said.

On Saturday, the UK recorded a further 155 daily COVID-related deaths and 30,693 more infections in the latest 24-hour period, according to government figures.