Sajid Javid has urged the British public to “play your part” and get a COVID booster vaccine – warning that the UK is “once again in a race between the vaccine and the virus”.
The heath secretary told Kay Burley that cases of Omicron are growing at a “phenomenal rate”, which is why the government is expanding the booster programme “to a level never seen before in this country”.
Mr Javid said the plan is for jab centres to be open for at least 12 hours on every day of the Christmas holidays, apart from Christmas Day itself.
“We have got to act early,” the health secretary added, telling Sky News that ministers are “throwing everything” at the booster rollout, which is “more important than ever”.
Mr Javid later told Kay Burley that there are currently 10 people in hospital with Omicron.
“At this point in time I cannot confirm a death,” he added.
His comments came a day after Prime Minister Boris Johnson announced that everyone aged 18 and over in England will have the chance to get their booster vaccine before the end of the year to combat the threat of rising Omicron variant cases.
In a pre-recorded national address, the PM said he was launching the “Omicron Emergency Booster National Mission” to encourage everyone who is eligible to “get boosted now”.