British Prime Minister Boris Johnson announced at a Downing Street news conference on Tuesday that the government will aim to ensure everyone eligible for a COVID-19 booster vaccine receives an offer by the end of January 2022.
This latest announcement and the news conference itself came in response to increased worries both in Britain and worldwide about the omicron variant of the coronavirus.
Johnson said: “We’re going to be throwing everything at it, to ensure everyone eligible is offered a booster in just over two months.”
“There will be temporary vaccine centers popping up like Christmas trees,” he said.
Age groups will be invited one at a time, starting with the elderly and then working down the age brackets to younger people, Johnson added.
“Right now, our best single defense against omicron is to get vaccinated and to get boosted,” he noted, saying he will get his own booster dose on Thursday.
On Monday, the country's Joint Committee on Vaccination and Immunisation recommended that booster jabs be extended to all adults and that the gap between the second and third doses be reduced from six months to three.
Johnson spoke alongside British Health Secretary Sajid Javid and Chief Executive of NHS England Amanda Pritchard.
Javid said: “We’re now able to put our booster program on steroids, and protect even more people, even more quickly.”
“If we want to give ourselves the chance of a Christmas with our loved ones, the best thing we can do is step up, roll up our sleeves, and get protected when the time comes,” he added.
Pritchard said the UK’s National Health Service (NHS) now had over 3,000 vaccination sites across the UK, and that while the NHS was confident it would meet the January deadline, it could not “happen overnight” due to the stresses the health service is under.
Shortly before the news conference, the UK Health Security Agency announced