The prime minister has confirmed that hospitalisationsÂ are going up as the UKÂ recorded 78,610 new Covid cases - including the new Omicron variant.Â
However Boris Johnson did have some positive news as he revealed thatÂ admissions areÂ "coming down" among elderly and vulnerable people who have already had their third booster vaccination.
It came during a press conference held this afternoon with Mr Johnson confirming thatÂ 12 to 15-year-olds willÂ now be able to book their booster jab from next Monday (December 20).
During the address, Johnson reiterated that it wasÂ â€œabsolutely vitalâ€ for everyone gets a booster jab, with the doubling rateÂ of infections now under two days in some areas and hospitalisations up by 10pc nationally.
But he also said there were "signs of hope" and that "a great national fightback has begun".
Johnson said: "People have responded with an amazing spirit of duty and obligation to others and I want to say that each and every one of you who rolls up your sleeve to get jabbed is helping this national effort.
â€œWhile hospital admissions are going up nationwide, weâ€™re starting to see admissions coming down among some of the more vulnerable older age groups where weâ€™ve already got those boosters in arms.
â€œThe pace of rollout across the four nations is such that the UK as a whole now has twice as many boosters per head as the EU, and more than twice as many as the United States.â€
He also said a "territorial army" is emerging to fight the new variant.
Johnson added:Â â€œSince Sunday night, we have seen more than 20,000 new volunteers signing up to help with the booster effort as stewards, taking the total number to almost 33,000.
â€œWith every day we are expanding the ranks of these healthcare auxiliaries, an emerging territorial army of the NHS in a race against time to get those jabs in arms and save lives.â€
During the press conference, professor Chris Whitty saidÂ people â€œcannot really argueâ€ that vaccines do not work, with data showing even those who do go into hospital with two jabs will still seeÂ reduced risks.
He said: "When people say â€˜do vaccines workâ€™? I really do think if people look at these data, they cannot really argue, except that vaccines are remarkable at working.
â€œBut people do still go into hospital even when theyâ€™re double vaccinated and they will still go into hospital even after boosters, but their risks are much reduced.â€
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