Boris Johnson has said that “up to 90%” of people currently on intensive care with COVID-19 have not received their booster jab when he called on the nation to accept the offer.
Speaking to TV companies, the prime minister said there are 2.4 million eligible double-jabbed people yet to take up offer a booster and that “the overwhelming majority” of them are in a serious condition at the hospital with COVID falls into this category.
“I’m sorry to say this, but the vast majority of people who are currently ending up in intensive care at our hospitals are people who are not boosted,” the prime minister said.
“I’ve talked to doctors who say the numbers run up in 90% of people on intensive care who don’t get boosted.
“If you are not vaccinated, you are eight times more likely to get to the hospital.
“So it’s a great thing to do. It’s very, very important. Get boosted for yourself, and enjoy the New Year sensibly and gently.”
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New research from the Intensive Care National Audit and Research Center shows that most people in intensive care in London who had COVID last month had not been vaccinated.
The Prime Minister urges people to be boosted
The Prime Minister added that the success of the vaccination program and the “large proportion of the British public” who had been vaccinated meant there would be no new restrictions until 2022.
“It allows us to move forward with New Year in the cautious way that we are,” he said.
But the prime minister acknowledged the growing number of coronavirus infections and hospitalizations.
“That Omicron variant continues to cause real problems. “You see cases increase in hospitals,” he told reporters.
“But it’s obviously milder than the Delta variant, and we’re able to continue the way we are.”
New Year plans given the green light
Earlier this week, Health Minister Sajid Javid confirmed that there will be no more restrictions implemented in England prior to New Year, which means that New Year’s parties can continue as planned.
This is despite record high COVID infection rates across the UK in recent days, with rates consistently above 90,000 over the Christmas period.
Javid did not rule out the possibility of further restrictions being introduced in January, but it did other decentralized nations have already introduced several measures.
In Scotland, collection limits came into force on the second day of Christmas, and in Wales, nightclubs closed after Christmas and the rule of six was introduced in hospitality environments.
Northern Ireland took similar steps.
Scottish Prime Minister Nicola Sturgeon is expected to update Parliament later today on COVID-19, although it is unclear whether more restrictions will be introduced.
England and decentralized nations are taking different paths
Asked why England had acted differently from the decentralized nations, Mr Johnson told reporters that his government had looked at the “balance of risks” on COVID politics.
“I think we have looked at the balance between the risks together, we generally coordinate our strategies together, we see data showing that yes, cases are rising and yes, hospital admissions are rising, but what makes a huge difference is the level of booster resistance or the level of vaccine-induced resistance in the population, “he said.
“What we need to do now is really finish that work. I have no doubt at all that by 1 January, before the New Year, all adults in the country will have been offered the place to get a booster. They will get a place to get one.
“The question is, are we getting people to take advantage of those slots? And that’s what’s going to happen.”
The booster campaign continues
Today, the NHS launched a new booster jab drive in an effort to protect more people from the rapid spread of the COVID-19 Omicron variant.
An additional 650,000 text messages and 50,000 letters will be sent in the coming days to those people who have not yet received their third dose of vaccine, asking them to have a “jabby New Year”.
Millions were contacted earlier this week with a similar message urging people to book their boosters as soon as possible.
A further 244,078 vaccinations were issued on Monday, including 209,626 boosters – the second-highest total for a public holiday.
About 51 million people in the UK have received at least the first dose of a vaccine, while more than 32 million have received a third injection.