Boris Johnson has written to NHS staff asking for help ‘delivering the biggest, fastest vaccination drive this country has ever seen’.
It comes after the Department of Health and Social Care announced the 15-minute observation wait for people following a jab would be suspended to help accelerate the rollout.
The period of observation is to ensure people do not have an allergic reaction to the jab.
But the chief medical officers of the four home nations said that this is causing ‘more harm than it can avert’ by ‘significantly reducing’ the number of people who can be vaccinated over a short period of time.
The government plans to offer third jabs to all adults before the end of the year in a bid to stop the new Omicron variant overwhelming the NHS and plunging the nation into another lockdown.
In his letter to the NHS, the prime minister wrote: ‘I know this will not be easy. I know that you are tired and weary. But you know how critical it is that we get Britain boosted, and fast.
‘For our part, I can assure you that this Government will do whatever it takes to give you the support you need, and that the whole nation is right behind you, willing you to succeed.’
The prime minister’s spokesman confirmed this will include Christmas Day, when there will still be ‘appointments available’, despite low demand.
People have queued for hours outside vaccine clinics to get their booster jabs after the programme was opened up to all adults.
In his letter, the prime minister said he wanted to ‘acknowledge and praise’ the extraordinary hard work of the NHS as he begged for their continued support.
‘Like me, you must have hoped that with our booster campaign managing the Delta variant, the worst of the pandemic was behind us,’ he wrote.
‘Sadly, as you know, we now face a new variant which is spreading more quickly than ever seen before.
‘As we take on this new Omicron variant, evidence suggests that two vaccine jabs do not provide enough protection. I therefore need to call on your help and assistance to deliver the biggest, fastest vaccination drive this country has ever seen.’
It comes after MPs voted retrospectively to back new Covid measures including indoor face masks and vaccine passes for large events.
Although the rules were passed, the PM suffered a huge Tory rebellion on the latter, more contentious issue.
Around 100 of his own MPs are thought to have voted against the passport plan, which requires people to show proof of vaccination or a negative test to go to large events.
Sir Geoffrey Clifton-Brown, a senior Tory rebel, warned the PM will face a leadership challenge if he doesn’t change.
He told Sky News that the prime minister is ‘in some danger’ and MPs are considering submitting no confidence letters.
The rebellion comes after a damaging few months for Mr Johnson, who is currently embroiled in a scandal around Downing Street Christmas parties during the last winter lockdown.
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