Boris to celebrate success of vaccine programme in New Year’s message

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The Prime Minister Boris Johnson with nurse Lily Harrington at St Thomas' Hospital in central London. Picture by Andrew Parsons / No 10 Downing Street.

Prime Minister Boris Johnson will hail success of vaccine programme and heroic public response to booster campaign in New Year’s message.

The Prime Minister will deliver his New Year’s message today (Friday 31 December) where he will celebrate the achievements of the vaccination programme over the last year with over 7 in 10 eligible adults in England boosted so far – an increase of 8 million top up jabs (45%) since the target was brought forward on 12 December.

In his New Year’s message, he will announce we’ve met the target to offer the chance to get a COVID-19 booster to every eligible adult and urge those who haven’t yet been jabbed to take up the offer of a booster, or their first or second dose.

The Prime Minister will also reflect on the achievements of the UK throughout the past year. The UK has had the fastest economic growth in the G7, record employment levels and massive global investments in the British tech sector this year.

The Prime Minister will also urge people who are celebrating to exercise caution by taking a test, practicing good hygiene, and letting fresh air in, and to follow the COVID-19 guidance if they’re living in Scotland, Wales, or Northern Ireland.

The Prime Minister, Boris Johnson, will say:

Happy New Year. 2022 is almost upon us. And whatever the challenges that fate continues to throw in our way and whatever the anxieties we may have about the weeks and months ahead, particularly about omicron and the growing numbers in hospitals…we can say one thing with certainty – our position this December the 31st is incomparably better than last year.

This country has the fastest economic growth in the G7. We have more people in work now than there were before the pandemic began. And if you want a sign of future growth – look at the massive global investment in British high tech. Almost £30 billion into the UK tech sector this year – twice as much tech investment as Germany, three times as much as France.

And there is one reason – one overriding reason – why the UK has been able to maintain the most open economy and society of any major European economy. And that is because the British people have responded heroically, voluntarily, and in almost incredible numbers to the call to get vaccinated.

And as I speak tonight on New Year’s Eve, we’ve met our target, we’ve doubled the speed of the booster roll out. And it’s precisely because of that huge national effort that we can celebrate tonight at all. Though I must of course urge everyone to be cautious and to take a test if you are going out and to remember the importance of ventilation. Follow the rules if you are in Scotland or Wales or Northern Ireland.

And I want to speak directly to all those who have yet to get fully vaccinated. The people who think the disease can’t hurt them – look at the people going into hospital now, that could be you. Look at the intensive care units and the miserable, needless suffering of those who did not get their booster, that could be you.

So, make it your New Year’s resolution – far easier than losing weight or keeping a diary – find a walk-in centre or make an online appointment. Get that jab and do something that will make 2022 a happy New Year for us all.

On 30 November, the government set out its ambition to offer all eligible adults the chance to get their booster by the end of January. This target was brought forward by the Prime Minister earlier this month in response to the emerging threat of the Omicron variant in order to protect the public as quickly as possible.

Some eligible people may not yet have been able to receive their booster yet due to catching COVID-19. The vaccination programme requires the majority of people infected with COVID-19 to wait 28 days following infection before receiving a vaccine.

After the 28 days have passed, people are encouraged to book their booster as soon as they can. Those eligible for a booster vaccine who have delayed making an appointment because of other acute illnesses are also encouraged to book as soon as they are fully recovered.

Recent UKHSA data shows people who are unvaccinated are up to eight times more likely to be hospitalised than those who are fully vaccinated.

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