Boris Johnson has thanked NHS workers for their “incredible efforts” in a letter and called for their help in delivering the “biggest, fastest vaccination drive this country has ever seen”.
It comes as the Government has said all eligible adults in the UK will be offered the chance to get a booster jab before the end of the year to curb the spread of the highly-transmissible Omicron variant, which is already driving a spike in Covid-19 infections.
In the letter, published on Twitter, the Prime Minister wrote that “evidence suggests that two vaccine jabs do not provide enough protection.
My letter to everyone working in the NHS. pic.twitter.com/MzEqVdZ8m4
— Boris Johnson (@BorisJohnson) December 14, 2021
“I therefore need to call on your help and assistance to deliver the biggest, fastest vaccination drive this country has ever seen…
“I know this will not be easy. I know that you are tired and weary.
“But you know how critical it is that we get Britain boosted, and fast.”
“For our part, I can assure you that this Government will do whatever it takes to give you the support you need, and that the whole nation is right behind you, willing you to succeed.”
Mr Johnson praised the service’s “extraordinary hard work” during the pandemic, which “has placed extraordinary strain on all NHS staff over a period of nearly two years.”
He wrote: “Like me, you must have hoped that with our booster campaign managing the Delta variant, the worst of the pandemic was behind us.
“Sadly, as you know, we now face a new variant which is spreading more quickly than ever seen before.”
The health service is racing to boost as many people as possible as it braces for the impact of a wave of Omicron cases.
The British Medical Association trade union noted that the booster rollout will affect routine services, and challenged the Prime Minister to fulfil his promise of Government support for the NHS.
Dr Chaand Nagpaul, BMA council chair, said: “As the Prime Minister has outlined in his letter to the NHS this evening, the accelerated booster campaign is the largest of its kind this country has ever seen, and staff are working around the clock to ensure as many jabs are offered before the end of the month.
“It is a Herculean task, and while we will try our very best to achieve it, Government must be aware of the reality of what they are asking us to do.
“We will have to juggle this rollout with existing day-to-day work, urgent care, and rising Covid hospitalisations – all the while knowing that the more time our stretched workforce spends on delivering vaccines, particularly in general practice, the less available they will be for routine services and the larger the backlog gets.
“Mr Johnson has promised that Government will do ‘whatever it takes’ to give us the support we need, and this must be delivered on.
“As well as further necessary measures to help stop the spread of Omicron, we need Government to be honest with the public about the impact this accelerated rollout will have on current NHS services, and make it clear that any disruption to routine services is not blamed on hardworking doctors.”
More than three million booster and third doses of Covid-19 vaccine have been delivered across the UK in the past week, the highest number for any seven-day period since the rollout of extra doses began.