Covid booster jabs will be offered to 30-year-olds from Monday as the Government launches a desperate dash to jab “as many people as possible” before Christmas.
In a massive push to protect millions more people in the face of the new omicron variant the NHS has announced the booster will be available to everyone aged 30 to 39 three months after their second dose.
More age groups are expected to be included in the coming weeks, with ministers determined to “massively expedite” the booster roll out.
The Telegraph understands that several billion more pounds is to be poured into expanding the roll-out.
Data shows that a third jab gives up to 75 per cent protection against infection from omicron, as well as decreasing the chances of severe illness if infected.
It comes as government modellers warned the new omicron variant could cause more hospitalisations and deaths than last year’s peak, despite Plan B restrictions of mask-wearing and working from home being imposed.
On Saturday the UK recorded 633 omicron cases, the biggest single daily increase since the variant was detected in the UK in November. The confirmed number of cases for the country stands now at 1,898.
The Government on Saturday night made it clear it wants to dramatically speed up the programme as the best protection against omicron, with ministers considering calling in more military medics to help deliver boosters in areas where the roll-out is being held back by capacity as opposed to demand.
A Government source said: "We’re looking at what we can do to massively expedite the booster programme. We are trying to get as many people a booster before Christmas as physically possible. It doesn’t solve everything but it obviously would slow things down."
Extending the top up jabs to those 30 and over, which follows updated advice from the Joint Committee on Vaccination and Immunisation, means another 3.5 million people will be eligible from Monday with the rest of the 7.5 million people in that age range qualifying in the coming weeks.
Sajid Javid, the Health and Social Care Secretary, said: “The Covid-19 booster programme is accelerating rapidly and more than 22 million people in the UK have already received their top-up, securing vital protection ahead of Christmas.
“This is our national mission – the most recent data shows boosters are the essential defence against omicron and we are doing everything in our power to get jabs into arms as quickly as possible.
“We are now expanding the offer to over-30s – so please come forward as quickly as possible to get boosted and help our country get ahead in this race with the variant.”
Comment speech bubble