Care Minister Gillian Keegan told Kay Burley on Sky News that ministers will “do whatever” the Joint Committee on Immunization and Immunization (JCVI) says regarding recall jab rules, and that the advisory body “continually review the data”.
His comments come as the pace of the booster vaccine rollout is too slow, with former Health Secretary and Tory MP Jeremy Hunt suggesting the gap should be narrowed to five months to improve immunity by Xmas.
In the latest data released on Thursday, the UK registered 52,009 new Covid case and 115 virus-related deaths.
The number of new infections marked the first time this figure was above 50,000 since July 17.
Live updates on COVID from UK and around the world
In September, the government said that people over the age of 50, people who live and work in care homes, front-line health and social workers, people over 16 with medical conditions health conditions that put them at serious risk of COVID-19 or infections and people over 16 who are the primary caregivers of a person at high risk of coronavirus should be reminded.
Currently, only those who received their second dose of the coronavirus vaccine at least six months ago are being asked to come forward.
When asked if that time frame could be reduced, Ms Keegan told Sky News: ‘Well, the JCVI are the only ones who can answer this question.
“So what’s going on is JCVI obviously looks at all the data, they look at a bunch of different things, and they basically compromise and advise us.
“So they advised us six months. We put this plan in place from September 14, the first call-back hit the arm on September 16.
“And of course, they’re continually looking at the data – but they’re the only people who can really answer that question.
“But if they advise us, then our job is to prepare ourselves, of course, to do whatever they say.
“But for now, it’s been six months, that’s what we’ve been told and this plan is in place and has been in place for about five weeks now. “
Pressed by calls from those including Tory MP and Commons Health and Social Services Committee chairman Mr Hunt that the time between second coronavirus injections and booster doses should be reduced as patients infections continue to rise, Ms Keegan said “there are a lot of people who have opinions”.
Concerns were raised after many eligible people said they had not received an invitation for their booster injection, while others who received one said they were told to call their referral centers. local health and that they had struggled to pass.
But speaking to Sky News on Thursday, Health Minister Edward Argar told Sky News’s Kay Burley: “We have the capacity to do it, we have the vaccine, over 2,500 sites where people can be piped. Across the country.
“Part of that encourages people to take the jab and now we’ve made a change.
“It’s not just about waiting to be invited, if you hit six months plus a week, go to the national reservation system and book yourself. “
The latest figures show that 49,554,407 people have received at least one vaccine and that a total of 45,460,122 people are fully vaccinated.
Speaking Thursday, Boris Johnson admitted that the level of COVID cases is “high” and said he “monitors the numbers very carefully every day”.
However, the Prime Minister insisted that he “sticks to our plan”.
The government has so far resisted calls to move to Plan B of its fall and winter COVID response to ease pressure on the NHS.
The NHS Confederation and the British Medical Association (BMA) have called on the government to implement plan B now, with BMA board chairman Dr Chaand Nagpaul saying the government has’ lifted the brakes “.
Under plan B:
• The public would be informed “clearly and urgently” of the need to exercise caution to help control the virus
• Legally mandated coverage would come back in some contexts and the home work mandate could be reintroduced
• The government also has the possibility of making COVID compulsory vaccination certificates in certain scenarios
The Secretary of Health, Sajid Javid, has predicts there could be up to 100,000 cases of COVID per day on the way to winter.
But the government has insisted that its priority is to roll out the coronavirus vaccine and the vaccine booster program to all eligible people.
Speaking at a Downing Street press briefing on Wednesday, Mr Javid appeared to imply that people were simply do not take advantage of the callback offer.
He said at a press conference: “If we are to guarantee these freedoms for the long term, the best thing we can do is come forward again when that time comes.”
“After the milestones we have taken this year, neither of us wants to go back now.
“If we all play our part then we can give ourselves the best possible chance in this race, get through this winter and enjoy Christmas with our loved ones. ”