Covid: 'Up to 90% of intensive care patients have not had booster jab', Boris Johnson says

Boris Johnson said people should take a lateral flow test before meeting others, but pharmacies across the country are reporting shortages, Political Correspondent Carl Dinnen reports

Up to 90% of coronavirus patients in intensive care have not had a Covid-19 booster vaccine, the prime minister has said.

Speaking during a visit to a vaccination centre, Boris Johnson urged anyone eligible to get their third dose as coronavirus cases across the UK continue to soar.

With just days to go until New Year's Eve and millions of people across the UK expected to attend parties, the PM urged people to celebrate in a "cautious and sensible way".

Mr Johnson also defended the government's decision to not impose any extra Covid restrictions in England, a decision at odds with the leaders of the devolved nations who have all introduced tougher rules on social mixing as a result of soaring coronavirus cases due to the rapid spread of Omicron.

The prime minister urges 'cautious and sensible' New Year's Eve celebrations

But the prime minister said his government had looked at the "balance of the risks," adding: "We see the data showing that, yes, the cases are rising and, yes, hospitalisations are rising, but what is making a huge difference is the level of booster resistance or level of vaccine-induced resistance in the population."

Mr Johnson advised New Year's Eve revellers to celebrate as safely as possible: "Take a test, ventilation, think about others – but above all, get a booster."

His comments came as the UK once again broke its previous record for the highest number of Covid cases reported in a single day.

As of 9am on Wednesday, a further 183,037 lab-confirmed cases were recorded.

It is the first time since Christmas Eve that data on daily case numbers has been made available for all four UK nations.

ITV News' Carl Dinnen explains what could happen if the shortage of lateral flow tests continues

The government has continued to promote booster vaccinations in a bid to tackle rising cases, with an NHS campaign promoting have a "jabby new year".

With action being taken by the devolved nations, the PM was quizzed by reporters asking "where have you been for the past 10 days" as Covid cases soared.

The PM responded: "I've been in this country, where do you think?"

Has the PM been present as the Covid situation worsened?

Speaking at a vaccination centre on Wednesday, the PM said: "I’ve no doubt at all that by January 1, by the new year, every adult in the country will have been offered the slot to get a booster. They’ll be given a slot to get one.

"The question is, are we getting people coming forward to take advantage of those slots? And that’s what needs to happen."

Mr Johnson said he "cannot stress too much" how important it is to get a booster jab, adding there were 2.4 million eligible double-jabbed people who were yet to take up the offer of a booster.

Coronavirus: What you need to know

He told reporters: "I’m sorry to say this but the overwhelming majority of people who are currently ending up in intensive care in our hospitals are people who are not boosted.

"I’ve talked to doctors who say the numbers are running up to 90% of people in intensive care, who are not boosted. If you’re not vaccinated, you’re eight times more likely to get into hospital altogether."

The PM praised the "huge proportion of the British public" who had been boosted, saying the vaccination campaign had allowed England to maintain its current level of coronavirus controls.