Covid UK news live: Booster vaccines extended to over-40s

Oliver Dowden ‘confident’ UK will have ‘decent’ Christmas this year

Boris Johnson today warned that the UK “cannot afford to be complacent” about a new wave of coronavirus in Europe.

At a press conference this afternoon the prime minister said the country must be “vigilant” after a rise in UK cases and urged people to get a booster jab if they are eligible.

Mr Johnson’s remarks were made after it was announced the Covid-19 vaccine booster programme is to be extended to include healthy 40 to 49-year-olds.

The Joint Committee on Vaccination and Immunisation (JCVI) said all adults over the age of 40 should be offered a booster, six months after their second dose.

It has also said that 16 and 17-year-olds should come forward for a second dose of the Pfizer/BioNTech jab – which should be given at least 12 weeks after the first.

At a press conference on Monday morning, Professor Wei Shen Lim, chair of Covid-19 immunisation for the JCVI, said that booster vaccine doses are “important ways to increase our protection against Covid-19” and urged people to come forward to get a jab before winter.

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Covid booster programme extended to over-40s following JCVI advice

The Covid-19 booster vaccination programme is to be extended to include healthy people aged 40 to 49 as the government seeks to avoid a winter surge in cases and hospitalisations.

The Joint Committee on Vaccination and Immunisation (JCVI) said all adults over the age of 40 should be offered a booster, six months after their second dose.

It has also said that 16 and 17-year-olds should come forward for a second dose of the Pfizer/BioNTech jab – which should be given at least 12 weeks after the first.

Samuel Lovett has the details.

Joe Middleton15 November 2021 10:15


Stopping Christmas Covid restrictions ‘in our hands’ says minister

Government minister Oliver Dowden said the vaccination programme offers the best assurance that further Covid-19 restrictions will not be needed over Christmas.

The Conservative Party chairman told Sky News: “”It is in our hands. If you get the booster when the call comes that is the biggest wall of defence that we have against Covid.

“I am confident that if we stick the course, people take the boosters when they are asked to do so, that vaccine wall will hold up and we will be able to have a decent Christmas this year.

“There are no plans to stop Christmas happening. The huge difference this time is the vaccine.”

Joe Middleton15 November 2021 10:18


Van-Tam: Booster jabs could prevent Covid-19 deaths at Christmas

Deputy chief medical officer for England Professor Jonathan Van-Tam said figures from Israel show booster jabs could prevent Covid-19 deaths over Christmas and beyond.

Speaking at a press briefing, he said: “They’re showing that in people aged over 60 in Israel, after a messenger RNA booster, and compared with simply having received the first two doses of Pfizer – in the case of Israel three to four weeks apart – They are observing a tenfold reduction against all Covid infections, an 18.7-fold reduction against hospitalisations, and a 14.7-fold reduction against mortality, and that’s on top of the initial course of Pfizer.

“So I believe therefore that if the booster programme is successful, and with very high uptake, we can massively reduce the worry about hospitalisation and death due to Covid at Christmas, and for the rest of this winter.”

Joe Middleton15 November 2021 10:25


Austria enters lockdown for the unvaccinated as Covid cases surge

Austria entered a lockdown for people not fully vaccinated against the coronavirus on Monday, with reinforced police checks to ensure compliance as the country struggles with a surge of Covid-19 cases.

The government said that around two million people in the nation of roughly nine million are now only allowed to leave home for a limited number of reasons such as travelling to work or shopping for essentials.

The aim is to counter a surge in infections to record levels fuelled by a full vaccination rate of only around 65% of the population, one of the lowest in western Europe.

Thomas Kingsley has the details.

Joe Middleton15 November 2021 10:41


People who are ending up in intensive care with Covid-19 are the unvaccinated, says Boris Johnson

Prime Minister Boris said today that people who are still ending up in intensive care with coronavirus are “the unvaccinated” and has urged people to come forward and get a booster jab.

Speaking on a visit to a medical centre in east London, he said: “I think it’s very good news that the JCVI has today authorised the booster programme to be rolled out to everybody 40-plus, and when you look at what’s happening in the pandemic at the moment, just hearing in Newham sadly there are people in ITU, in intensive care, who are suffering badly from Covid, but they’re all the unvaccinated.

“And what’s happening is if you can get your booster then your immunity goes right back up to 95%. So far we’ve got 75% of everybody over 70 getting a booster, there’s a huge number of people, but it’s that further 25% that will make all the difference to winter, to Christmas, to our plans going forward, because it’s that extra level of protection that we really need.

“So the message is, anybody over 70 come forward, get your booster, anybody over 50 comparable and get your booster now, in the next week or so anybody over 40 as well, come forward and get your booster.

“And we’re also doing a second dose for the 16 and 17-year-olds.”

Joe Middleton15 November 2021 11:00


Anti-vaxxers brandish Nazi symbols during protest outside Jewish politician’s office

Anti-vaccine protesters displayed Nazi imagery during a Covid-19 protest outside a Jewish politician’s office.

Jeffrey Dinowitz, a member of the New York state assembly, called the demonstrators’ behaviour “despicable” in a tweet overnight on Monday.

The north Bronx representative tweeted photographs of Sunday’s protest which was attended by Rob Astorino, a Republican candidate for state governor.

Jon Sharman has the details

Joe Middleton15 November 2021 11:15


UK faces potential ‘blizzard’ of Covid infections, says PM

Boris Johnson today warned that the UK faces a potential “blizzard” of Covid infections from Europe.

Speaking at the Woodgrange Medical Practice in Forest Gate, east London, he said: “We don’t see anything in the data at the moment to suggest that we need to go to Plan B, we’re sticking with Plan A.

“But what we have certainly got to recognise is there is a storm of infection out there in parts of Europe, you can see those numbers ticking up very sharply in some of our continental friends.

“And we’ve just got to recognise that there is always a risk that a blizzard could come from the east again, as the months get colder.

“The best protection for our country is for everybody to go forward and get their booster.”

Joe Middleton15 November 2021 11:34


Van-Tam: Big flu concern this winter

Joe Middleton15 November 2021 11:53


Anti-Asian hate speech surged by 1,662% during the pandemic, study finds

Anti-Asian hate speech increased by 1,662 per cent in 2020 compared to 2019 in the UK, a new report examining how racism online changed during the pandemic has revealed.

There were 23 million references to violent threats, many aimed at people of Asian ethnicity, in the UK and US between 2019 and mid-2021, the research found.

The study, by leading youth charity Ditch the Label, was published on Monday to mark the beginning of Anti-Bullying Week. It analysed 263 million online conversations between 2019 and mid- 2021, when there was a new online post about race or ethnicity-based hate speech every 1.7 seconds on average.

Joe Middleton15 November 2021 12:07


Christmas restrictions should not be needed, says minister

A second Christmas lockdown should be unnecessary if people take up the coronavirus booster vaccine, a minister has said, despite Boris Johnson warning of a “blizzard” of infections on Britain’s doorstep.

Oliver Dowden said festive freedom was “in our hands” and that vaccines would create a “wall” to protect the country this winter.

Mr Johnson has insisted that government data does not show his Covid-19 “plan B” is needed, even as he admitted rising infections in Europe posed a threat to the UK.

Joe Middleton15 November 2021 12:26

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