Health Minister Tells Britons to Get Covid Booster to Avoid Christmas Restrictions

Pedestrians walk past graffiti reading "Lockdown 3: The Nightmare after Christmas" painted
OLI SCARFF/AFP via Getty Images

Health Secretary Sajid Javid has said Britons need to “come together” and get their booster shots for the Chinese coronavirus to “avoid a return to restrictions and enjoy Christmas”.

The Department for Health and Social Care revealed on Sunday that 10 million people in the UK have already received their “top-up” vaccines, with a further three million invited for their boosters in the coming weeks.

Health and Social Care Secretary Sajid Javid said in a press release: “We know immunity begins to wane after six months, especially for the elderly and the vulnerable, and booster vaccines will top-up their protection to keep people safe over the winter.

“I strongly urge everybody who is eligible for a COVID-19 booster or flu vaccine to take up the offer as soon as you can.”

“This truly is a national mission. If we all come together and play our part, we can get through this challenging winter, avoid a return to restrictions and enjoy Christmas,” he said.

This is not the first time that Christmas, restrictions, and the pandemic had been uttered in the same breath by a government figure in recent weeks, with Deputy Chief Medical Officer Jonathan Van-Tam only saying on Wednesday: “Christmas, and indeed all of the darker winter months, are potentially going to be problematic.”

Professor Van-Tam made the remarks after being asked how the UK can avoid a Christmas lockdown, continuing to tell the BBC: “I think the things that are really going to determine this are, first of all, human behaviours and caution over the winter months, but particularly in the next couple of months if you’re talking about Christmas, so it’s how cautious we are. The next one is how well the vaccination programmes go.”

Continuing: “On top of that, we have to keep a weather eye on the absence of new variants of concern, and that’s something that’s always out there with this virus. At the moment, there aren’t any obvious concerns, but we have to accept we can’t predict the future and we have to keep a very close eye on it.”

“We’ve got a few more months to run, and I think we’ll be in a much calmer set of waters by spring. But I think, until then — caution, be very careful, this is not quite over and vaccines, boosters, [are] really important,” he added.

The government announced in September that if hospital admissions rise, a Plan B could be brought in, which could see the return of working from home advice and mask mandates in public enclosed spaces and public transport in England, and possibly the introduction of domestic vaccine passports for some settings, such as large social venues.

However, Professor Lucy Chappell, the chief scientific adviser for the Department for Health and Social Care (DHSC), had told MPs last month that a “Plan C” for dealing with a rise in coronavirus numbers over the Winter had been “mentioned” in case Plan B fails, but had “not been extensively worked up”.

Boris Johnson’s government has maintained: “There is no Plan C.”

“We knew the coming months would be challenging which is why we set out our Plan A and Plan B for autumn and winter last month”, a government spokesman said last month amidst media reports that such a Plan C could see the mixing of households banned again over Christmas.


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