Boris orders over-50s to get booster jabs NOW amid Christmas lockdown fears

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The Prime Minister’s call to arms on the vaccine comes as covid cases have continued to rise in the UK and follow evidence from research in Israel that the booster jab ensures people have 95 percent coverage against the disease. His appeal follows polling carried out by Redfield and Wilton for the Sunday Express which revealed that 51 percent of the 1,500 respondents believe there will be a lockdown this winter.

Mr Johnson has made it clear that he wants to stick to plan A and keep the country open while, if possible, avoiding extra measures like vaccine passports.

He said: “Vaccines are our way through this winter. We’ve made phenomenal progress but our job isn’t finished yet, and we know that vaccine protection can drop after six months.

“To keep yourself, your loved ones, and everyone around you safe, please get your booster when you get the call.

“We can and will beat this virus but only if we listen to the science and look out for each other. 

“This is a call to everyone, whether you’re eligible for a booster, haven’t got round to your second dose yet, or your child is eligible for a dose ‑ vaccines are safe, they save lives, and they are our way out of this pandemic.”

The NHS will contact eligible people for a booster vaccine and anyone who receives an invite should book online or by calling 119.

Young people aged 12 to 15 are now also able to book their jabs through the National Booking Service, with appointments available at 90 vaccine centres across the country from next week, with more to come next month. 

The phenomenal national effort seen during the first phase of the vaccination programme has already saved around 130,000 lives, with almost 95million doses delivered across the UK.

As set out in the autumn and winter plan, the winter months will lead to the increased transmission of viruses. 

Vaccines are our best line of defence but data shows that the natural immunity provided by vaccines will wane over time, particularly for older adults and those more at risk from covid.

Recent studies suggest protection against death falls from 95 percent to 80 percent for AstraZeneca after six months, and from 99 percent to 90 percent for Pfizer.

The booster programme is designed to top up this waning immunity for those most at risk over the winter months. 

A 15 percent drop in efficacy could lead to many more avoidable deaths and cases of severe illness from covid.

Early results from Pfizer shows that a booster dose can increase the protection from our vaccines back up to 95.6 percent against symptomatic infection. 

This additional protection is vital, and everyone aged over 50 or who is at high risk from Covid will be invited for their booster jab six months after their second dose.

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