People urged to start New Year by getting Covid jab with millions of slots available

27 December 2021, 08:43 | Updated: 27 December 2021, 13:53

People are being urged to get their Covid vaccines to curb the spread of the Omicron variant
People are being urged to get their Covid vaccines to curb the spread of the Omicron variant. Picture: Alamy

By Daisy Stephens

Those who are still eligible to receive their coronavirus jabs are being urged to start 2022 by getting the vaccine as more than 1.5 million appointments are available to book over the festive season.

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The NHS said there were 1,551,187 slots still available to be booked between Monday and January, as rugby stars lined up to urge people to get their boosters.

NHS national medical director Professor Stephen Powis called on people to get boosted in time for the New Year.

"The evidence is clear that two Covid jabs is not enough, and with the Omicron variant, there is no time to delay getting your booster," he said.

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"Staff and volunteers up and down the country are working incredibly hard to make sure that anyone who wants to get boosted between now and the new year can do, so start 2022 by protecting yourself, your friends and family and book your jab today."

Prime Minister Boris Johnson has also urged people to make use of the slots available and get their boosters.

"There are over 1.5 million vaccination slots available to book in England in the coming days," he said in a tweet.

"We know two jabs don’t give you enough protection against Omicron so whether it's your first, second or booster jab I urge you to book an appointment now."

Meanwhile, England women's rugby's Sarah Hunter, Harriet Millar-Mills, and Amber Reed have backed the booster campaign in a short film as it was revealed more than 61 per cent of adults have now had the top-up jab.

Hunter, England Women's rugby captain and Loughborough Lightning number eight said: "My motivation to get the first two vaccines and the booster is so I can continue to go to work to play the sport I love, and to do so in front of the amazing fans.

"I urge all those that haven't yet had theirs to do so now, so we can keep ourselves and our loved ones safe from Covid-19 and look forward to a brilliant year of sport ahead throughout 2022."

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Health Secretary Sajid Javid added: "Thank you to the Rugby Football Union and especially Sarah, Harriet and Amber for supporting the booster programme to tackle Omicron to the ground.

"Kick Covid-19 into touch and get boosted now.

"Against the Omicron variant two doses are not enough, but a third jab will bring you over the try line to boost your protection.

"The NHS continues to work tirelessly to deliver jabs and it's so important for people to play their part by rolling up their sleeves in this national mission."