Boris Johnson set the new target for the booster programme amid fears over the spread of the Omicron variant
Boris Johnson has vowed to offer everyone eligible a booster by the end of January as the Government scrambles to see off the threat of the Omicron variant.
The Prime Minister said third doses would be handed out in priority order – and said people should wait until they are called to book their third dose.
Mr Johnson told a Downing Street press conference: “The target that we’ve set ourselves is to offer a booster to everyone eligible by the end of January.
“As with the first jabs we’ll be working through people by age group going down in five-year bands, because it’s vital the older and more clinically vulnerable get that added protection first.”
He added: “We’re going to be throwing everything at it in order to ensure that everyone eligible is offered that booster, as I say, in just over two months.”
At least 400 military personnel will be drafted in to help the NHS with the jabs rollout, Mr Johnson said.
He added: “Across England we’ll have more than 1,500 community pharmacy sites.
“All of our sites will increase their capacity. Stand up extra hospital hubs, temporary vaccination centres “popping up like Christmas trees”.”
Mr Johnson said he understood the “sense of exhaustion” people felt about the prospect of another wave – but said the UK was in a much better position.
He said: “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.”
It comes as eight new cases of the Omicron variant were confirmed, bringing the total number of known infections in England to 13, the UK Health Security Agency said.
Separately, Nicola Sturgeon said there were nine cases of the new strain in Scotland all linked to a single private event.
MPs debated further restrictions in Parliament after the PM imposed tougher rules on mask use, foreign travel and isolation in response to the Omicron variant.
The new Covid regulations passed in the Commons by 434 votes to 23.
Ministers are scrambling to buy time for scientists, who are working round the clock to understand the new variant.
Fears have been raised that existing vaccines could be less effective against Omicron – but experts need time to test whether this is really the case.