Prime Minister Boris Johnson says the Omicron variant of Covid continues to cause “real problems” as cases rise in hospitals.
But it is the vaccination campaign that has allowed England to maintain its current levels of coronavirus control.
“It’s obviously milder than the Delta variant, and we’re able to continue the way we are,” he said.
This is due to the “large proportion of the British public” who had been vaccinated.
“It allows us to move forward with the New Year in the cautious way that we are,” the Prime Minister added.
Boris Johnson said “I can not stress too much” how important it is to get a booster jab against Covid-19 in order to enjoy the new year “sensibly and carefully”.
The prime minister said there were 2.4 million eligible double-jabbed people who had not yet accepted the offer of a booster.
He told reporters: “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 getting a boost.
“I’ve talked to doctors who say the numbers run up to 90 percent of people on intensive care who don’t get a boost.”
This suggests that if you are not vaccinated, you are eight times more likely to get to the hospital.
Johnson added: “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.”
A spokesman for the Prime Minister further clarified that this figure of 90 percent is anecdotal evidence from “some NHS Trusts”, which he reflected.
Boris Johnson said people should enjoy the new year in a “careful and sensible way”.
Asked about reports of people traveling across the border from Wales and Scotland to England to celebrate it, he told reporters: “I think everyone should enjoy the New Year, but in a careful and sensible way.
“Take a test, ventilate, think of others – but above all, get a booster.”
Do you want to stay up to date with the latest news, views, features and opinions from across the city?
MyLondon’s brilliant newsletter The 12 is completely crammed with all the latest to keep you entertained, informed and uplifted.
You get 12 stories directly in your inbox around noon. It’s the perfect lunch read.
And what’s more – it’s FREE!
The MyLondon team tells London stories to Londoners. Our journalists cover all the news you need – from the town hall to your local streets, so you never miss a moment.
Do not skip a beat and sign up for The 12 Newsletter here.
Boris Johnson said the government had looked at the “balance of risks” on Covid policy.
Asked why England had acted differently from the decentralized nations, Mr Johnson told reporters: “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.
“What we need to do now is really finish that work. I have no doubt at all that by January 1, by New Year, all the adults in the country will have been offered the place to get a booster. They get a room to get one.
“The question is, are we getting people to come forward to take advantage of these slots? And that’s what needs to happen.”