Boris Johnson hits out at anti-vaxxers spouting 'mumbo jumbo'
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The Government could change what it means to be “fully vaccinated” because immunity wanes over time. Number 10 confirmed the Government is looking at changing the status to include boosters, as the Prime Minister urges Britons to get their third jab. Mr Johnson’s official spokesman was asked on Thursday whether entry to large venues or being free from quarantining after travel would be dependent on having the booster jab.
He said: “I think the Prime Minister’s talked about this on a number of occasions and we’ve always said that, given what we know about waning immunity, it’s right to look at what constitutes being fully vaccinated.
“So we’re keeping that under review, but obviously we would confirm if there were any further changes.”
However, those who have had Covid within the past 28 days are unable to get their booster jab immediately.
An estimated 3.7 million people in the UK had the virus in the week ending December 31, according to the Office for National Statistics.
This was up from 2.3 million in the week to December 23 and daily recorded doses have been record-breakingly high in the first week of 2022, leaving hundreds of thousands more ineligible.
An additional 179,756 coronavirus cases were reported in the UK on Thursday, following on from 194,747 on Wednesday and 218,724 on Tuesday.
Grilled on when the definition could be changed, the PM’s spokesman said: “We haven’t set a specific time, we’ve said that it’s something we want to look at and keep under review given what we know about waning immunity, but beyond that, we haven’t set a date.”
More than half of the adult population in the UK – around 65 percent – have now received their booster or third dose.
Cabinet ministers this week reportedly discussed banning entry to large venues and the right to quarantine-free travel to those who did not have a booster jab.
Ministers on the Government’s Covid-O committee discussed various ways to incentivise remaining eligible adults to take up the offer, including making booster shots a requirement on Covid passes, The Times reported.
The newspaper suggested this plan could be delayed for a month to allow those infected in the Omicron wave to get jabbed.
The move could put Mr Johnson on another collision course with rebel Tory backbenchers.
In December, the Prime Minister faced a humiliating backbench revolt over new restrictions to combat the spread of the Omicron variant.
A total of 99 Conservative MPs rejected plans for vaccine certificates – the biggest Conservative rebellion since the 2019 general election.
Despite the large Conservative rebellion, the Commons approved the introduction of tougher restrictions for England because Labour supported the proposals.
Sir Geoffrey Clifton-Brown, treasurer of the 1922 Committee said a leadership challenge next year was “on the cards” if the PM did not change his approach.
Reflecting on the last rule shift in December, Social Democratic Party leader William Clouston commented: “The government doesn’t understand. If you keep on moving the goalposts people will stop playing the game.”
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