Boris Johnson has set a target for all vaccinated adults to receive their booster jab by the end of January as the government prepares to ramp up its vaccination efforts.
Johnson said 400 military personnel will be deployed to help “ramp up capacity”, with more than 1,500 community pharmacies set to be open to offer vaccinations.
The Prime Minister also said temporary vaccination centres would be “popping up like Christmas trees” to lift vaccination numbers to the levels they hit earlier this year as the jab was rolled out.
The government yesterday announced that all over-18s would now be eligible for a booster jab and that the minimum time between second and third Covid jabs would be cut to three months.
“As with the first jabs, we’ll be working through people by age group, going down in five year age bands, because it’s vital that the older and more clinically vulnerable get that added protection first,” Johnson said.
The Prime Minister also moved to calm people over fears that another winter lockdown, or stricter Covid curbs, could be on the horizon due to the emergence of the Omicron variant.
“Today our position is, and always will be, immeasurably better than it was a year ago,” he said.
“What we’re doing is we’re taking some proportionate, precautionary, measures while our scientists crack the Omicron code, and while we get the added protection of those boosters into the arms of those who need them most.”
Health secretary Sajid Javid said: “Our strategy is to buy the time we need to assess this new variant, while doing everything we can to slow the spread of the virus and strengthen our defences.”
It comes after the government brought in new Covid restrictions in a bid to stem the potential of rising cases of the Omicron variant, which is believed to be more transmissible and potentially vaccine resistant.
This includes mandatory face masks in many indoor settings and a stricter testing programme for international arrivals.