BORIS Johnson today threw his weight behind The Sun's campaign to ramp up Britain's booster jabs campaign and save Christmas.
The PM praised our drive to bolster the country's Covid defences and urged all over-50s to make sure they came forward for their third dose.
He said: "I fully support this campaign from The Sun.
"As we get close to winter, make sure you get a booster jab when offered to maintain your protection against COVID and keep your loved ones safe."
Daily infections have now been above 40,000 for seven days in a row, with 43,738 recorded yesterday.
There were also 223 Covid-related deaths recorded yesterday — the highest since March.
But around 1.5million people who are eligible for a third jab have still not had it. And the UK’s stuttering vaccine rollout means we are slipping down the European league table.
Scientists also warned a new sub-variant of the Delta strain, named AY.4.2, is gaining a foothold and could be 15 per cent more infectious.
Experts fear cases and hospital admissions could surge in older people this winter as protection wears off from the vaccines they had six months ago.
And if death rates rise the Government could come under pressure to introduce lockdown-style restrictions before Christmas.
Downing Street has already admitted there is a challenging winter ahead.
PM Boris Johnson’s Plan B could see the return of face coverings, work-from-home orders and vaccine passports for some events.
But giving booster jabs to the elderly and most vulnerable could instead help protect the NHS from being overwhelmed as it was last December.
Last night Health Secretary Sajid Javid backed The Sun’s campaign to get booster jabs into millions of arms before the end of the year.
He said: “I’m delighted that the Sun has launched this hugely important campaign to encourage more people to come forward for their booster when invited.
“As we approach winter, we’ll need to draw on this spirit once again, to help keep our country safe.
THE SUN SAYS
TODAY The Sun urges all readers to put rocket-boosters under the stuttering jabs rollout. Nothing is more vital to save lives and keep our freedoms this winter.
If you’re invited to get YOUR booster shot, don’t hesitate — especially if you are one of the 1.5million people who has been asked, but is yet to come forward.
Britain’s vaccine programme was a world-leading triumph, thanks in no small part to Sun readers who flocked to have theirs — and joined our Jabs Army to help others do the same.
The uptake was phenomenal. But we must all remember this: the drugs don’t CURE this hideous disease.
Some childhood inoculations last for life. Sadly that’s not so with a virus as unstable as Covid.
Yes, your Pfizer or AstraZeneca jabs provide powerful protection against infection, severe illness and death. But it is clear that, a few months on, the effect is starting to wane.
That makes regular boosters crucial, especially for over-50s.
And the booster rollout, unlike the astonishing pace with which the first two jabs were delivered, is too slow.
We all wish it were otherwise, but yesterday’s grim figures show the pandemic is not over.
Some 223 Covid deaths were reported, the highest in seven months.
Another 43,738 people were infected.
The vaccines have kept hospitalisations and deaths far lower than during the second wave last winter. But both are rising.
And a booster shot won’t just maximise your immunity, potentially saving your life and maybe your loved ones.
It will give Britain our best chance of swerving further crippling restrictions.
We have all loved near-normality returning this summer.
The prospect of social distancing, compulsory masks, closures and even lockdowns — just in time for Christmas — is bleak indeed.
The vaccination programme for teenagers has been plagued with problems.
With unvaccinated 12 to 15-year-olds comprising a large percentage of new cases, this must be urgently fixed.
Let’s keep Britain safe — and free.
“This truly is a national effort. So please come forward as soon as possible to get your jabs — to protect yourselves, your loved ones, and the extraordinary progress we’ve made together.”
Millions of adults will be urged to come forward the moment they are eligible in an official ad campaign to be launched this week.
And major jabs centres will open their doors to 12 to 15-year-olds during half term in a bid to boost uptake in school children, who have record-high infection rates.
Figures reveal 5.5million of the 7.9million eligible have so far been invited for a booster jab. Four million have already had it — leaving 1.5million who have not.
Another 1.9 million people will be asked to head to their local GP or vaccination centre this week.
Around 500,000 who live or work in social care will be jabbed there.
All over-50s, people with serious health conditions and health and care workers who are already double-jabbed are being offered the booster from six months after their second dose.
By the end of the rollout, medics hope to have given boosters to more than 30million.
Flow tests ‘stay free’
PLANS to charge for lateral flow tests have been ditched.
Ministers had suggested making people pay for the swabs, which are currently free from the NHS, to help rebuild public finances.
But Whitehall insiders last night said the idea had been shelved amid rising infection rates.
Instead Government officials are focused on creating a new plan to help the NHS through the “tough winter” that lies ahead.
It came as former Health Secretary Jeremy Hunt grilled NHS bosses in Parliament yesterday about an “urgent need to turbocharge the booster programme and the teenage jab programme”.
Downing Street last night insisted the Government was “not complacent” about rising Covid cases.
And the PM’s spokesman said there were no plans to use the contingency measures set out in the autumn/winter strategy unless there is a significant risk of the NHS being overwhelmed.
Kids ‘can get jab at centres’
TEENS will soon be able to get their jab at vaccination centres after anti-vax campaigners staged “toxic” and abusive protests at school gates across the country.
Sajid Javid said 12 to 15-year-olds will be able to use the national booking system so families can “make the most of half term” to get kids jabbed.
The Health Sec acted after growing alarm that the vast majority of teens still have not had their first dose — while infection rates among school kids rocket.
So far, only 15 per cent of teens have had a jab.
And a whopping 208,700 kids in England are off school with suspected Covid.
Furious school chiefs last night voiced their concerns.
Geoff Barton, of the Association of School and College Leaders, told
The Sun: “There have been emails from anti-vax groups to staff — some of them personal and containing threats. Some really nasty tactics.”
He also blasted the Government’s shambolic roll-out in schools.
Jabbers cancelled with just a few hours’ notice or arrived without enough vaccine for all the kids expecting one, he said.
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