The Prime Minister’s repeated call for people to get vaccinated comes as he continued to fight mounting pressure to enforce so-called Plan B restrictions despite a warning from doctors and nurses that the NHS is not far from a tipping point.
The stricter measures would include advice on working from home and the mandatory use of face masks.
Health Secretary Sajid Javid said this week new cases could reach 100,000 a day, but No 10 insisted there was still capacity available in the NHS and that measures more stringent would only be activated if hospitals were under “significant pressure”.
However, as The independent revealed on Saturday evening, the steady rise in Covid cases and the number of patients admitted to hospitals each day close to 1,000 have left health workers worried the country could be “three or four weeks away” from a problem serious if the rise remains uncontrolled.
An NHS Chief, Sir Chris Ham, even suggested Mr. Javid lived in a “parallel universe”.
In a ‘call to everyone’ on Saturday night, Mr Johnson said Britain had made ‘phenomenal progress but our work is not yet finished’.
“To protect yourself, your loved ones and everyone around you, please get your reminder when you get the call,” he continued. “We can and will beat this virus, but only if we listen to the science and take care of each other. “
Mr Johnson added: ‘Whether you are eligible for a booster, have not yet reached your second dose, or your child is eligible for a dose, vaccines are safe, they save lives and they are our. solution. pandemic. “
Some four million booster doses have already been administered in the UK – and the National Booking Service has had its busiest week of recall bookings, with almost half a million doses reserved on Wednesday and Thursday alone.
Along with the Prime Minister’s statement, Downing Street warned that the next few months “will lead to increased transmission of the virus” but assured the public that “vaccines are our best line of defense”.
“This extra protection is vital, and anyone over the age of 50 or at high risk of Covid will be invited for their booster shot six months after their second dose,” officials added.
Elsewhere, the World Health Organization set Mr Johnson a different tone when she warned the vaccine alone would not be able to get the world out of the pandemic.
Spokeswoman Margaret Harris told Times Radio: “The problem is focusing on one thing, the vaccine is not going to get us out of there. We really need to take further action.
“We have to be serious so as not to burden ourselves. We should always consider wearing masks, especially when you are indoors. “
Professor Peter Openshaw, member of the Advisory Group on New and Emerging Respiratory Virus Threats (Nervtag), added that the number of cases and death rates are currently “unacceptable”.
He said measures such as working from home and wearing masks are “so important” in efforts to control the spread of Covid.
Professor Openshaw of Imperial College London said BBC breakfast: “I’m very worried that we have another Christmas lockdown if we don’t act soon. We know that with public health measures, the time to act is immediate. There is no point in delaying.
He continued, “We all really, really want a wonderful family Christmas where we can all get together. If this is what we want, we have to put these measures in place now in order to reduce transmission rates so that we can actually get together and see each other at Christmas. “
And in an apparent nod to the busy months ahead for the NHS, the former head of the Covid vaccine deployment in England has been reinstated at work amid concern over the rising number of cases. Dr Emily Lawson returned to the health service after being seconded to the delivery unit at No.10.
Another 135 people died within 28 days of testing positive for Covid-19 on Saturday, bringing the UK total to 139,361, according to the latest government figures.
There have also been 44,985 laboratory confirmed cases of Covid-19 in the UK in the past 24 hours, according to the figures.