Boris Johnson: UK faces ‘tidal wave’ of omicron cases

Prime Minister Boris Johnson warned Sunday that Britain faces a “tidal wave” of infections from the omicron coronavirus variant, and announced a huge increase in booster vaccinations to strengthen defenses against it. In a televised statement, Johnson said everyone age 18 and older will be offered a third shot of vaccine by the end of this month in response to the omicronemergency.” The previous target was the end of January.

He said cases of the highly transmissible variant are doubling every two to three days in Britain, and “there is a tidal wave of omicron coming.”

And I’m afraid it is now clear that two doses of vaccine are simply not enough to give the level of protection we all need,” Johnson said. “But the good news is that our scientists are confident that with a third dose – a booster dose – we can all bring our level of protection back up.”

He announced a “national mission” to deliver booster vaccines, with pop-up vaccination centers and seven-day-a-week getting extra support from teams of military planners and thousands of volunteer vaccinators. Johnson’s Dec. 31 target applies to England. The other parts of the U.K. — Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland — are also expected to speed up their vaccination campaigns.

The U.K. Health Security Agency says existing vaccines appear less effective in preventing symptomatic infections in people exposed to omicron, though preliminary data show that effectiveness appears to rise to between 70% and 75% after a third vaccine dose.

Source: https://www.startribune.com/