The Omicron variant of Covid-19 spread rapidly across the UK in December and January before the infection rate gradually fell away, emboldening Boris Johnson to drop the “Plan B” restrictions brought in to stop the spread before Christmas.
Speaking in the House of Commons in February, the prime minister said that guidance on mask-wearing in public places and presenting Covid passes to enter crowded venues would be scrapped as the New Year spike in infections waned without having resulted in the mass hospitalisations experts had feared.
Work from home guidance was also lifted, with people no longer encouraged to work remotely as had been the official guidance since 8 December 2021, as was the requirement to self-isolate, which was dropped a month ahead of schedule as the government sought to pivot to a “Living with Covid” strategy.
Nevertheless, as the recent surge in infections from the BA.2 Omicron sub-lineage reminded us, the pandemic is far from over and the variant remains a threat, so members of the public are still being urged to get their third (or fourth) vaccine jab to boost immunity as soon as they can.
NHS rules on boosters were relaxed in December so that all over-18s were offered a third jab, a decision supported by the Joint Committee on Vaccination and Immunisation, which also recommended cutting the period between second and third jabs from six months to three in a bid to beat the variant.
You can currently get a booster if you are over 18 – or over 16 with a health condition – and it has been at least three months (91 days) since you received your second dose of one of the approved Covid vaccines.
If you are struggling to secure a booking due to high demand, you can also visit any walk-in vaccination centre to get your jab, with people being advised to use the NHS online walk-in finder to locate their nearest centre.
If you have had a positive Covid test, you are advised to wait four weeks (28 days) before booking your booster, starting from the date you had the test.
“NHS staff are making it as easy as possible for people to get their top-up vaccination,” said Dr Nikki Kanani, deputy lead for the NHS Covid-19 vaccination programme.
“People can now go online, find their nearest site and go and get their booster without delay. The booster is not just nice to have, it is really important protection. So if you are eligible, please do check the site finder and go get your jab.”
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