PM launches 'urgent Omicron appeal' on vaccines

The public is told to 'get boosted' amid warnings that other NHS care could be postponed.
Image of Omicron, by Pixabay

Updated 13 December 2021

The government has launched an "urgent" mission to give all eligible adults a Covid booster vaccination by the end of the year.

Prime Minister Boris Johnson warned on 12 December that a "tidal wave of Omicron is coming" as the new Covid-19 variant doubles every 2-3 days. New evidence shows two vaccine doses aren't good enough against Omicron but protection rises to more than 70% after you've had a booster.

Mr Johnson said GPs and other NHS staff would be redeployed and the army brought in to deliver boosters to all eligible adults in England by the end of the year. This meant "some non-urgent appointments and elective [planned] surgeries may be postponed until the New Year".

"Without the added protection from this third dose, NHS beds will quickly fill up and the long term damage to the economy and the NHS efforts to bring down the backlog will be even greater," the Prime Minister added.

Your booster must be at given at least three months after your second dose but you can book your appointment up to a month beforehand. 

Originally the government had pledged to give boosters to all adults by the end of January but it has moved the date forward.

WHAT YOU NEED TO KNOW

Boosters

  • Boosters are being offered to all adults aged 18 & over by December 31, 2021

  • Your booster can't be given until at least 3 months after your second dose but you can book your appointment up to a month in advance

  • You can make a booster appointment using the national booking service

  • Venues in Reading include the mass vaccination centre at Broad Street Mall

  • Broad Street Mall vaccine centre runs 7 days a week, 9.30am-7pm by appointment

  • You can check if any walk-in booster service is available, here on the NHS website

First and second vaccine doses

  • 12-15-year-olds will be offered a second vaccine dose, after previously being offered only a single dose - a start date for this change hasn't yet been announced
  • 12-15-year-olds can get their first dose outside of school: book here (bring a parent or guardian with you)
  • 12-15-year-olds must wait 12 weeks (recently changed from 4 weeks) after any positive PCR test before getting a vaccine
  • 16-17-year-olds are now being offered a second dose of the vaccine, 12 weeks after their first dose (not the 8 week gap that applies to adults aged 18+)
  • Anyone aged 16+ who hasn't had their 1st or 2nd vaccine can still come forward
  • Book an appointment or check if a walk-in service is available here

Guidance has been changing quickly so double-check the NHS website to find out if recently announced changes have begun.

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