GET your booster jabs NOW to protect against more restrictions at Christmas, warned Health Secretary Sajid Javid as he rolled up his sleeve for his third Covid vaccine.

With boosters to be offered to eight million over-40s from next week, he said: “As a country, we are doing well in our fight against this pandemic but no one knows what’s around the corner.

Paul EdwardsThe 51-year-old Health Secretary received a dose of the Moderna vaccine yesterday '/ '

“What we do know is that vaccines work. So the more people that come forward, the safer we’ll be this Christmas.”

After an initially slow take-up blighted by complacency and anti-vax dis- information, more than 13million boosters have now been given out across the country.

But still a third of those eligible have not taken them up.

Mr Javid said: “Vaccines are our main form of defence against this virus. We can already see how the vaccine programme is helping us get back towards a more normal way of life.

“To keep up with this progress boosters are absolutely essential.”

And the 51-year-old Health Secretary, who received a dose of the Moderna vaccine yesterday, added it was crucial that all those eligible came forward in order to protect the NHS, which faces a double whammy of flu and Covid this winter.

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He said: “There is no time to waste. Getting the jab is one of the most important things you can do to protect yourself and those around you, and to help ease pressure on the NHS over the coming months.

“We know that winter presents a challenge for the health service and we all have a part to play in reducing the strain on our local hospitals and GP surgeries.

“Getting your vaccine or your booster jab increases your immunity to the virus, reducing the risk of serious symptoms and of hospitalisation, meaning fewer people needing hospital care or a hospital bed.

Facing double whammy

“Data shows the rate of admission to hospital for those aged 18 to 29 is five times higher if you’re unvaccinated than if you’re double-vaccinated, and four times higher for those aged 30 to 39.”

The figures are particularly stark for pregnant women. Of those admitted to hospital with Covid up until September 30, 98 per cent were unvaccinated.

The Health Secretary urged: “If you are pregnant or thinking about pregnancy, getting the jab is vital for protecting you and your baby.

“The vaccines have been rigorously reviewed by scientific and medical experts and have been found to be safe — far safer than catching the virus.”

He added: “Spreading false information about vaccines costs lives and risks undermining the vaccine effort. Anyone sharing false stories about vaccines needs to stop. Get your facts from trusted, legitimate sources, like your doctor or the NHS website.”

There is also concern about people described as “vaccine hesitant”.

Mr Javid said: “We’ve just constantly got to work with people, make sure they’ve got the information they need and are able to speak to clinicians and access the information they may need online.

“Our independent regulator, the MHRA, is one of the most respected in the world and they have deemed all the vaccines that we’re using as safe and effective. That is not a government or a minister’s decision, that is an independent regulator — and that’s worth a lot.”

Mr Javid’s jab was administered by Dr Nikki Kanani, the medical director of primary care for NHS England.

Praise for The Sun

He thanked Dr Nikki and all the staff at the hospital for “all the incredible work you do” — and also heaped praise on The Sun for its Give Britain A Booster campaign.

He said: “I would like to praise The Sun for its campaign. I have no doubt that it will have inspired thousands of people to come forward.”

Booster jabs may soon be necessary to avoid quarantine when travelling, with the Government said to be looking at how to include them in the NHS Covid Pass for travel.

But Mr Javid says that the idea is just “under review” at the moment

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