• Thu. Jan 20th, 2022

Boris Johnson vows booster jabs will save New Year's Eve but pleads with Brits to party 'with caution'

Dec 30, 2021

BORIS Johnson has urged Brits to urgently get their booster to keep hospital admissions to a minimum.

The PM said doctors had told him up to 90 per cent of new Covid patients had not received their third jab.

He said the rollout of the first two vaccinations plus the take-up of the booster had been key to saving the chance for partygoers to “cautiously” see in 2022 tomorrow night.

And the PM said he was confident everyone would be offered one by his New Year deadline.

But he warned the “overwhelming majority” of Brits in intensive care had not had three jabs.

Some 2.4 million double-jabbed people are yet to take up the offer of a booster.

The PM said: “I’ve talked to doctors who say the numbers are running up to 90 per cent of people in intensive care who are not boosted.

“Think about the risk you’re running with your own health. Get boosted for yourself and enjoy New Year sensibly and cautiously.”

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Stats showed more than 800,000 boosters were recorded across the UK during the five-day Christmas period.

It means 33,091,891 people have now had a booster — around 62 per cent of adults in the UK.

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The UK yesterday recorded a whopping 183,037 new Covid cases — the highest daily figure since the start of the pandemic.

However, the figures included up to five days of uncounted cases from Northern Ireland, where they had not reported them over the Christmas period.

Last night, the PM continued to resist bringing in any more restrictions ahead of the weekend’s celebrations, despite hospitalizations also continuing to creep up.

He urged people to enjoy the holidays “with caution” by getting tested, boosted and keeping areas ventilated where possible.

He said on a visit to a vaccine centre in Milton Keynes: “We’re able to proceed in the way that we are.

“But there’s one reason and one reason only why we’re able to do that — that’s because such a huge proportion of the British public have come forward to get vaccinated and particularly to get boosted.

808,404 people had their third dose during the five-day Christmas period.

“That is allowing us to go ahead with New Year in the cautious way we are.”

The Omicron variant now represents 90 per cent of community cases in England, the UK Health and Security Agency said yesterday.

The Department for Health and Social care announced another £30million funding boost for care homes for the next month to try and help ride out the mutant wave and tackle staff shortages.

Hospital car parks and gyms will be transformed into Covid surge wards as the NHS goes on a “war footing” against Omicron.

Up to 4,000 extra beds will be created in “Nightingale hubs” across England, under the plans.

Health chiefs are already equipping eight temporary wards in preparation for a spike in pandemic cases, with dozens more on standby.

Health Secretary Sajid Javid said: “It is absolutely right we prepare for all scenarios and increase capacity.”

It comes as the number of patients being treated for Covid on NHS wards hit 10,462 in England yesterday.

33m people in total have had their third jab since rollout started.

Hospital occupancy is up 48 per cent from a week earlier — the highest since March 1.

However, it is still significantly down from the January peak, when more than 34,000 beds were filled.

And in a further sign vaccines are protecting against the worst effects, the number of patients taken to intensive care and placed on ventilators remains almost unchanged throughout December.

The first major study into Omicron mortality data has also suggested it causes less than 25 per cent of the number deaths as previous Covid waves.

Researchers at the University of Pretoria and the National Institute for Communicable Diseases in South Africa found 4.5 per cent of hospital patients died during the Omicron wave, compared with 21 per cent before the variant took hold.

In Scotland, First Minister Nicola Sturgeon insisted she would not budge on tough rules over New Year, despite pleas from hospitality firms for her to think again.

She said it was “essential” for Scots to stay home more than usual and only mix in up to three households at a time.

Last night, Mr Johnson hailed the anniversary of the UK approving the life-saving Oxford/Astra/Zeneca vaccine, which has saved countless lives around the world.

Some 2.5 billion doses have been dished out in more than 170 countries, with 50 million in the UK alone.

Two thirds of the UK-made and funded jabs were distributed to poorer countries, with the UK donating 30 million doses this year, and promising another 20 million next year.

Mr Johnson said: “We can all be incredibly proud of — and grateful for — a jab that has saved many millions of lives.”

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