'Think carefully' - Bristol health boss issues advice on mixing this Christmas as Omicron spreads

A Police Community Support Officer (PCSO) adjusts a sign as people queue at a vaccination centre at the Eastern Christian Family Centre, Bristol, as the coronavirus booster vaccination programme is ramped up
The booster take up has been hailed as "fantastic"

People are being urged to "think carefully" about inter-generational mixing and social interactions this Christmas amid the spread of the Omicron variant.

Bristol's director of public health Christina Gray praised the "remarkable" uptake of the booster vaccine in the city - but urged people to consider how they are mixing during the festive period.

She said while London is the epicentre of the Omicron variant of coronavirus, case rates in Bristol have "shot up incredibly quickly" in the past week.

Ms Gray said Bristol and Bath and North East Somerset (BANES) were among the first places in the region to see the variant and so are experiencing the sharpest rise in cases.

She described the turnout for booster vaccinations as "fantastic", adding: "We've got over 40% of the population have come forward to their boosters, which given the short period of time, is just remarkable."

But she warned the new strain is more infectious than other strains and so is "very easy" to catch.

She said people should "treasure the freedoms" we have and "the people you love" this Christmas but urged people to "think carefully" about how they are mixing.

"This Omicron variant is highly infectious and it will be more harmful to some groups than to others," she said.

"So it's just thinking about who you are mixing with and how you're mixing.

"Get those vaccinations in so everybody's got the maximum protection. Use fresh air, open windows, open doors have ventilation, intergenerational mixing. Also, just think carefully about that, about how you're doing it and use the lateral flow tests, which are widely available, now just as an extra precaution."

  • Vaccination centres in Bristol, Bath and North Somerset will be closed on Christmas Day and Boxing day but open as usual from December 27.