PM warns of Covid 'storm clouds' over Europe as he pleads with Brits to get booster

15 November 2021, 15:37 | Updated: 15 November 2021, 16:31

  • PM refuses to rule out a Christmas lockdown
  • There is nothing in the data to suggest we need to go to Plan B now
  • Don't be complacent and come forward for your jab, pleads the PM
  • 98 per cent of pregnant women admitted to hospital with Covid haven't had the vaccine
Boris Johnson has urged people to get the Covid jab as soon as they are eligible.
Boris Johnson has urged people to get the Covid jab as soon as they are eligible. Picture: Alamy

By Sophie Barnett

Boris Johnson has warned the nation there are "storm clouds" gathering over parts of Europe with a "new wave" of Covid, as he urged Brits to come forward for their booster jab.

The Prime Minister issued a rallying call for those who are eligible to take up the offer of the coronavirus vaccine to come forward during a press conference on Monday.

It followed the announcement from the Joint Committee on Vaccination and Immunisation (JCVI) which said the jab will be offered to healthy people aged 40 to 49 six months after their second dose.

Speaking about the worrying rise in Covid cases in Europe, the PM said: "We don't yet know the extent to which this new wave will sweep up on our shores but history shows that we cannot afford to be complacent.

"Those countries with lower vaccination rates have tended to see bigger surges in infection and in turn been forced to respond with harsher measures while those countries with higher vaccination rates have so far fared better.

"It shows us that if we want to control the epidemic here in the UK and if we want to avoid restrictions on our daily lives we must all get vaccinated as soon as we are eligible."

Read more: Covid boosters to be offered to over 40s

The Prime Minister also echoed his earlier calls for people to come forward and get their boosters when they receive the offer.

However, he remained certain that Plan A would be the way forward for coming months, saying there was "nothing in the data" suggesting Plan B was necessary.

"Clearly we cannot rule anything out and the most important thing people can do to prevent further NPIs from being taken is to - non-pharmaceutical interventions that is, further restrictions - get the boosters."

Read more: 'Blizzard' of Covid cases from Europe could derail Christmas, PM warns

He later added: "It's starting to build a lot of momentum, but we need to see those 50-plus groups and the 60-plus groups - who can also wind up in hospital very, very easily - getting their booster as soon as you're called forward to get it.

"That's the best protection we can have.

"But to repeat, I see nothing in the data at the moment that makes me think we have to go to further measures."

Meanwhile, Chief Medical Adviser Chris Whitty revealed that 98 per cent of pregnant women admitted to hospital with Covid had not had the vaccine.

It came as part of a plea for more to take up the offer as winter approaches.

"Based on academic data from February 1 to September 30 ... 1,714 pregnant women were admitted to hospital with Covid. Of those, 1,681, which is to say 98 per cent, had not been vaccinated," he said.

Read more: Covid passports extended to arts venues in Wales in response to 'very high' virus rates

"And if you go to those who are very severely ill in intensive care, of 235 women admitted to ICU, 232 of them - over 98 per cent - had not been vaccinated.

"These are preventable admissions to ICU and there have been deaths. All the medical opinion is really clear that the benefits of vaccination far outweigh the risks in every area. This is a universal view among doctors and among the midwife advisory groups and among the scientific advisory groups.

"So can I please encourage all women who are pregnant or wishing to become pregnant to get their vaccination."