The UK will offer everyone over the age of 18 the chance to receive a booster dose of the covid vaccine before the end of the year, to stem the “tide” of infections expected from the spread of the omicron variant.
In a televised message to the nation, British Prime Minister Boris Johnson acknowledged that his country is facing an “emergency” due to the rapid transmission of the omicron, which forces to advance by one month the goal of vaccinating all adults with the booster, previously set for the end of January.
Johnson also warned that this massive mobilization of the State, in which the Army will also participate, will force the cancellation of consultations and medical check-ups until next year, but he justified it in light of the threat posed by the omicron to the “freedoms” of citizens.
“No one should have any doubt that an omicron tide is coming in and I am afraid it is clear that two doses of the vaccine are simply not enough to give us the level of protection we need,” Johnson said.
The booster dose can be injected to all those who have already received the second dose at least three months ago.
The United Kingdom had previously raised the alert level for the covid to 4 on Sunday – out of a total of five after registering today a record of cases of the new variant, 1,239, which brings the total to 3,137.
Scientists estimate that the number of omicron infections doubles every two to three days today.
Johnson recalled in his speech that experts still do not know if the disease caused by the new variant is more serious than the previous ones, but there is consensus that it is much more contagious.
British hospitals have already begun to receive omicron-infected patients and it is feared that, even if the variant produces less severe effects, the national health system (NHS) will be overwhelmed by a flood of income.
In the operation to vaccinate all adults, 42 military teams will be deployed to enable additional vaccination sites and mobile units to allow the pace to not slow down after hours or on weekends.
Thousands more volunteers will also be trained to participate in the campaign.
Johnson announced on Wednesday the entry into force of new restrictions such as the generalization of the use of masks in closed public places, the requirement of COVID certificates to enter nightclubs or shows and the recommendation to telework whenever possible.