Prime Minister Boris Johnson seems to have started his Christmas celebration early as he put his trust in an intensified booster program to save the holiday for everyone.
Johnson chatted with stallholders Tuesday night, trying out items at a Christmas market in Downing Street, as an expression of confidence in the government’s approach to dealing with the latest COVID threat.
Earlier, he had urged people not to cancel Christmas or school parties during a press conference, promising to “throw everything” on the booster vaccination campaign to tackle the proliferation of the Omicron variant.
The Prime Minister announced a comprehensive NHS effort, backed by the Army, to offer all adults a third dose by the end of January.
He said “temporary vaccine centers will appear as well Christmas trees “, adding that about 400 military personnel and” jabs army of volunteers “will also help with the rollout.
Asked whether parties and plays should be scrapped, Mr Johnson said: “We do not want people to cancel such events and we believe that the best thing for children is to be in school, as I have said many times through. all the time. this pandemic. “
The Prime Minister added that the chance of another shutdown being enforced is “extremely unlikely”, but that ministers will keep “everything under review”.
He is again expected to be asked about the government’s approach to the government during the Prime Minister’s question in the Joint Council on Wednesday.
Johnson’s comments come after Health Minister Sajid Javid confirmed that all adults will be offered a COVID-19 booster vaccine as part of a comprehensive expansion of the jabs program to address the potential impact of the new Omicron variant.
Great Britain vaccine Advisory Body – Joint Vaccine and Immunization Committee (JCVI) – Recommended:
• Booster jabs for anyone over the age of 18
Shortening the distance between another jab and a booster from six months to three months
• Provides another plug for children between 12 and 15 years – again after no less than three months
• Severely immunosuppressed people will have access to another booster – which for some means a fourth dose this winter
Boosters consisting of either a Pfizer vaccine or a half dose of Moderna jab
Sir. Javid said the government will take all the recommendations on board “in full”.
The move will see millions of people in the UK eligible for a third booster dose and have come in the wake of growing international concern over the new variant.
More than 20 cases of the Omicron variant have so far been identified across the UK, although experts expect this figure to rise in the coming days.
To explain the government’s plan to expand the booster coronavirus vaccine program, the Prime Minister said: “The goal we have set ourselves is to offer a booster to all eligible people by the end of January.
“As with the first jabs, we will work through people by age group who go down in five-year ties because it is crucial that the elderly and the more clinically vulnerable get the extra protection first.
“So even if you had your second plug over three months ago and you are now eligible, try not to book until the NHS says it’s your turn.”
Analysis by Jon Craig, Chief Political Correspondent
Well it’s clear! Boris Johnson says, continue to party at Christmas, while the top NHS doctor, Dr. Jenny Harries, says you should not socialize if you do not need it. What a mess!
During the Commons debate on masks and self-isolation, in which dozens of Tory MPs revolted again, unhappy Health Minister Maggie Throup was repeatedly challenged about the doctor’s Joakim-like warning.
And when he faced similar questions at his Downing Street news conference later, the Prime Minister was determined to deliver a “Carry on Christmas” message. Again and again he kept saying that the COVID rules should be “balanced and proportionate”.
Asked if people should cancel Christmas parties and birthdays, Santa Boris declared, “We do not want people to cancel such events.”
We’ll see if that promise holds, given his record of COVID-u twists and cancellation of Christmas last year.
He continued: “I know the frustration we all feel with this Omicron variant, the feeling of exhaustion that we could go through all this again.
“But today I want to emphasize this, today it is the wrong thing to feel, because today our position is and will always be immeasurably better than it was a year ago.
“What we are doing is taking some proportionate precautions while our scientists are cracking the Omicron code and while we are getting the extra protection of these boosters in the arms of those who need them most.”
Johnson also revealed that he will get his booster jab on Thursday after 18 million Britons have already received theirs.
“It’s time for another major UK vaccination effort. We’ve done it before and we will do it again – and let’s not give this virus another chance,” the Prime Minister said.
Javid said people should be vaccinated to “give ourselves the best chance of a Christmas with our loved ones” and that the booster rollout is a “national mission”.
Speaking with the Prime Minister at the news briefing, the health secretary added: “What we see recently has brought back memories of the strain of last winter.
“But while we can not say with certainty what lies ahead, we have a huge advantage that we did not have then: our vaccination program, which has already done so much to keep this virus at bay.”
Javid also urged the “five million people” who have not received any coronavirus vaccines to step forward and accept the offer to protect themselves.
Meanwhile, Amanda Pritchard, chief executive of NHS England, said health workers are working at “throaty speed” to expand the booster jab rollout.
The Downing Street news conference came as MPs voted 434 votes to 23 to make mask wearing mandatory in shops and on public transport.
MPs later approved rules related to the requirement of self-isolation by 431 votes to 36.
The division list showed that 19 conservatives rebelled by voting against the face-covering rules, with the exception of the two MPs who acted as tellers for the Negroes.
It also showed that 32 Conservative MPs voted against the rules on self-isolation, again excl. the two tellers.
Later that evening, Tory Andrew Bridgen wrote a letter to the Prime Minister’s Parliamentary Private Secretary Sarah Dines saying it would be “inappropriate” for him to attend a planned drink at No. 10 after voting against the government’s implementation of further restrictions.