Health Secretary Sajid Javid has a huge task ahead of him to deliver millions of booster jabs in the run-up to Christmas.

While speaking outside a vaccination hub at St Thomas' Hospital in south London, Javid realised his questioner had yet to get a third dose, despite now being eligible under the revised three-month gap.


“Just go and do it now,” he said. Face masks will be compulsory in shops and on public transport in England, and UK arrivals are expected to have to take PCR tests in response to the new Omicron variant.

Mr. Javid said: “The measures will help to ensure that people can enjoy Christmas with our families. The government had acted swiftly and in a proportionate way".

But a doctor who treated the variant, Professor Anthony Harnden, said there had been unnecessary panic. Adults aged 18 and over will have an offer of a booster earlier than previously envisaged, the deputy chairman of the Joint Committee on Vaccines and Immunisation said.

Prof. Harnden said: "There is a very good, strong argument for raising the antibody level in the whole of the community. So, accelerating the booster programme both by extending the age range and by reducing the interval between the second dose and the booster dose, would be a sensible strategy."

The government has stopped short of issuing advice to work from home and extending vaccine passports in England, which are part of its Plan B for winter - a contingency plan if intervention on Covid is needed to protect the NHS.