THE Royal Borough’s health chief has urged everyone to get their booster jabs as soon as possible after the Prime Minister warned of a “tidal wave” of Omicron.

Last night (Dec 12), Boris Johnson declared an “Omicron emergency” and announced everyone over the age of 18 in England will be offered a third dose of the vaccine by the New Year, bringing forward the original target date by one month.

This announcement came just hours after the UK’s Covid alert level was raised to four, meaning there is a high or rising level of transmission.


Credit: PA

Credit: PA


Speaking to the Local Democracy Reporting Service, councillor Stuart Carroll, lead member for health, reiterated and stressed vaccination remains our “nuclear weapon”.

He urged everyone to get their booster jab and called for the unvaccinated to get their shot as soon as possible.

Cllr Carroll, who is an epidemiologist and on the UK vaccine taskforce, said: “Ensuring every adult can get access to a booster, who has already had their second dose from three months ago or longer, before the end of the New Year is a critical and significant step.

“This is an enormous undertaking for the NHS and, as I know working at the heart of the pandemic, a big task, but exactly the right decision as vaccination is our nuclear weapon.”

In Mr Johnson’s announcement, he said two doses of the vaccine “are simply not enough” – but a booster jab will bring the level of protection back up to about 75 per cent.


Cllr Stuart Carroll, lead member for health

Cllr Stuart Carroll, lead member for health


Cllr Carroll said they are still analysing the potential severity of Omicron but do know that it is more infectious and transmissible than previous variants, such as Beta and Delta.

He said: “The issue there is as your protection starts to wane from your second dose, the risk that poses increases even if Omicron has got the same level of severity as Beta and Delta because naturally as you wane, you become more susceptible.

“The susceptibility increases because Omicron is even more infectious and transmissible, so the chances of getting that variant are higher and it would appear that, potentially, Omicron will be, to some extent, more severe but the extent of which has to be analysed and we don’t have a handle on that at the moment because it’s a function of data.

“To be able to reach reasonable conclusions, you need a significant number of cases because you need to have a statistically significant sample size to start extrapolating population trends.”

READ MORE: Boris Johnson confirms first UK Covid death linked to Omicron variant

Even if triple jabbed, citizens are urged to continue to follow public health protocols, such as wearing face masks properly in certain settings like supermarkets and washing hands regularly.

Covid rules will be changing to reduce the spread of Omicron, such as work from home, as part of plan B. Cllr Carroll said these changes are “reasonable” – but believes restrictions and lockdowns are not the ultimate answer to stopping the pandemic, vaccination is.

Cllr Carroll also urged everyone to test regularly regardless of vaccination status and self-isolate if tested positive.

READ MORE: Covid-19: new map shows Omicron cases rising in Berkshire

Scientists have warned Omicron is likely to become the dominant variant in the UK. In the Royal Borough, there have been “some” confirmed cases of this strain.

The council has “ramped up” its communications with community groups, schools, and residents, urging people not to delay in getting their vaccines and booster jabs.

It is also working with the NHS to ensure there are “no barriers” for people wanting to book or walk-in into a vaccine centre to speed up the vaccination process.