Boris Johnson and Keir Starmer address nation in 'heartfelt' Christmas messages

24 December 2021, 07:25

Boris Johnson and Keir Starmer have released their Christmas messages
Boris Johnson and Keir Starmer have released their Christmas messages. Picture: Alamy

By Megan Hinton

The Prime Minister has released a Christmas message urging people to get the "wonderful" gift of a booster jab as part of the "neighbourly" spirit of the season.

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In his festive address to the nation released on Friday, Boris Johnson offered his thanks for those looking after people who have lost loved ones this year who would otherwise be on their own.

He said: "Though the time for buying presents is theoretically running out, there is still a wonderful thing you can give your family and the whole country, and that is to get that jab, whether it is your first or second, or your booster.

"We have been getting that vaccination that protects us and stops us infecting others.

"And I hope I can be forgiven for taking pride in the immense spirit of neighbourliness that the people of this country have shown.

"Getting jabbed not just for themselves, for ourselves, but for friends and family and everyone we meet."

On Thursday, the latest analysis by the UK Health Security Agency (UKHSA) suggested that Omicron is milder than past Covid variants such as Delta, with between 50% and 70% of people less likely to be admitted to hospital.

Read more: People infected with Omicron 'up to 70% less likely to need hospital', UKHSA study shows

Read more: Queen to deliver personal Christmas Day message following death of Philip

But Health Secretary Sajid Javid has warned that Omicron still has the potential to overwhelm the NHS despite the "promising" data because it is more infectious than past variants.

The health agency's analysis came as the UK experienced yet another record-breaking number of daily reported Covid cases, with 119,789 reported as of 9am on Thursday.

The Prime Minister added: "We have been getting that vaccination that protects us and stops us infecting others.

"And I hope I can be forgiven for taking pride in the immense spirit of neighbourliness that the people of this country have shown.

"Getting jabbed not just for themselves, for ourselves, but for friends and family and everyone we meet.

"And that, after all, is the teaching of Jesus Christ, whose birth is at the heart of this enormous festival, that we should love our neighbours as we love ourselves.

"And so let's think of all those who are being good neighbours and thinking of others.

Read more: Duke and Duchess of Sussex share first pic of Lilibet on 'family holiday' card

Read more: PM will wait until after Christmas Day to announce any Covid restrictions for England

"All those in the NHS working over Christmas, our care workers, everyone involved in the incredible vaccination campaign."

Labour leader Sir Keir Starmer, offered his "heartfelt thank you" to NHS workers for vaccinating the country, and armed service men and women both here and abroad, in his own Christmas message to the nation.

He spoke about the families that have suffered "unimaginable loss" over the last year stating and "for too many families there will be one less chair at the table for the Christmas meal".

Read more: Jingle jab: Covid boosters to be available on Christmas Day

Read more: UK Covid infection levels reach record high as over 1 million people test positive

Looking forward to the new year, the Labour leader urged people to "stick together, support each other and work together" as a "better future is possible".

Whilst in Scotland, First Minister Nicola Sturgeon also used her Christmas message to urge people to get vaccinated, describing the booster campaign as "a source of brightness during a really difficult month".

In Northern Ireland, DUP leader and Lagan Valley MP Sir Jeffrey Donaldson said that Covid "should not be underestimated" as he isolates with the infection.