Boris Johnson has said he wants to ramp up Covid booster capacity across the whole United Kingdom as he pledged the Government will be “throwing everything” at it.
The Prime Minister spoke at a Downing Street briefing on Tuesday, after it was announced that there is now 22 confirmed cases of the Omicron variant in the UK.
Johnson said that work will be undertaken with the devolved administrations in order to reach capacity levels achieved in the previous vaccination effort, with an aim of offering all those eligible a booster by the end of January.
Earlier at Holyrood, First Minister Nicola Sturgeon told MSPs that nine cases of Omicron in Scotland could be traced back to a single private event.
“The target that we’ve set ourselves is to offer a booster to everyone eligible by the end of January,” said Johnson.
“And as with the first jabs, we’ll be working through people by age group going down in five year bands.
“Because it’s vital that the older and the more clinically vulnerable get that added protection first.
“So, even if you’ve had your second jab over three months ago and you’re now eligible, please don’t try and book until the NHS says it’s your turn.”
He continued: “We’ve already done almost 18 million boosters across the UK, but we’ve got millions more to do to protect the most vulnerable.
“Then we’ll move down the cohorts and working together with the devolved administrations, we want to ramp up capacity across the whole United Kingdom to the levels we achieved in the previous vaccination effort.
“We’re going to be throwing everything at it in order to ensure that everyone eligible is offered that booster in just over two months.”
The Prime Minister however insisted that the UK is in an “immeasurably” better position than it was a year ago.
He said: “I know the frustration that we all feel with this Omicron variant, the sense of exhaustion that we could be going through all of this all over again.
“But today, I want to stress this, today, that’s the wrong thing to feel because today our position is and always will be immeasurably better than it was a year ago.
“What we’re doing is taking some proportionate, precautionary measures while our scientists crack the Omicron code and while we get the added protection of those boosters into the arms of those who need them most.”