Boris Johnson says a 'wonderful gift' is to ‘get that jab’ in Christmas message

Families should get their vaccines as an act of Christmas giving, Boris Johnson has said in his annual Christmas message.

In a Covid-focused address recorded in Downing Street, the prime minister said getting the jab is a ‘wonderful thing you can give your family and the whole country’ and would be key to saving next Christmas from uncertainty.

He told the nation: ‘Let’s think of all those who are being good neighbours and thinking of others.

‘All those in the NHS working over Christmas. Our care workers. Everyone involved in the incredible vaccination campaign.

‘Those looking after people who have lost loved ones this year, and would otherwise be on their own.

‘The many thousands of people who are selflessly self-isolating to keep others safe from Covid.

‘And though the time for buying presents is theoretically running out, there is still a wonderful thing you can give your family and the whole country.

‘And that is, to get that jab – whether it’s your first, your second or your booster – so that next year’s festivities are even better than this year’s.

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Mr Johnson’s message echoed calls from the NHS to ‘get the gift of the jab’ over the festive period as hundreds of vaccine centres will remain open through to Sunday.

Some 200,000 appointments are available across Christmas Eve, Christmas Day and Boxing Day thanks to staff and volunteers giving up their holiday, health bosses said.

It comes amid concerns that, in addition to a small but persistent number of vaccine refusers, some double-vaccinated people are putting off their booster jab to avoid experiencing side effects over the holiday period.

Uptake of the third jab remains strong overall, with over 800,000 people per day receiving their booster for more than a week as of Wednesday, taking the total to nearly 31.7 million.

But more than 1.6 million people per day would still need to get boosted for the country to hit its target of having everyone triple-jabbed by the end of the year.

Dr Emily Lawson, the head of the NHS Covid vaccination programme, said on Friday: ‘This Christmas, before sitting down to your dinner with your family, I would encourage anyone not already boosted to come forward, book an appointment and get the gift of a jab.’

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