The announcement of booster jabs for all over-18s is expected in the “next few hours” as the health minister said vaccines mean that the UK is in a better position than last year.
Edward Argar said that while he did not want to “pre-judge” the findings of an urgent review by the Joint Committee on Vaccination and Immunisation (JCVI), he was hopeful the advice will follow later today.
“Sajid Javid has asked the JCVI for advice urgently on bringing down the gap, potentially, between second and booster jabs but also in terms of age range,” Mr Argar told Sky News.
On whether it will be extended to 18 year olds, he said: “I think that’s what they’re looking at, we’d expect that in the next few hours.”
The vaccine rollout means that the UK is in a “hugely different place” from the emergence of the alpha or delta variants, after the emergence of the former effectively saw Christmas cancelled in 2020.
“The vaccination programme has made a huge difference in protecting our citizens, protecting our society and enabling us to open up,” he said. “The measures we’re putting in place now are proportionate, measured, I’m looking forward to a Christmas spent with family and friends.”
Follow the latest updates below.