Asked if he would heed the call from health chiefs of northeastern councils to implement plan B of the CCP (Chinese Communist Party) virus restrictions, Johnson said on Nov. 8 that he’s often presented with “different scientific advice, and different scientists say different things.”
“We study the data every day, we have reviews with NHS [National Health Service] chiefs every day,” he told reporters during a visit to a hospital in Hexham, in northeastern England. “The key thing you want to do is to reduce those pressures, which are building, on the A&Es, on beds, by encouraging people, particularly the over-50s, to come forward and get your booster jab.”
The prime minister said that “sadly, the jabs do wane,” and that he considers encouraging people to get their booster doses “the single most important thing that the government can do at the present time.”
England currently doesn’t have any domestic legal restrictions in place except self-isolation for those who test positive for or have symptoms of COVID-19 and their unvaccinated adult close contacts.
Plan B of the government’s autumn and winter plan will include a mask mandate in certain settings and mandatory “vaccine-only” CCP virus passports for all nightclubs and other crowded events.
Mike Tildesley, a member of the Scientific Pandemic Influenza Modelling group (Spi-M) that’s advising ministers, also said on Nov. 8 that the UK isn’t currently facing a winter lockdown.
Asked about the prospect of a lockdown, Tildesley told Sky News, “I think we’re a long way away from thinking in those terms.”
He said any discussions around more restrictions will come about when “the NHS is under severe pressure,” or “if the number of deaths sadly starts to increase.”
The UK government has called on more people to take up the offer of a third dose of a CCP virus vaccine, saying that more than 10 million had already gotten booster jabs.
Education Secretary Nadhim Zahawi suggested that people may be asked to get CCP virus vaccines every year.
“We will, I hope, be the first major economy to transition from pandemic to endemic, and have an annual vaccination program,” Zahawi told The Sun.
Asked about the prospect, Tildesley said he agrees it may become the case that people need booster jabs every year.
“I think it’s possible. I remember having these sorts of discussions about nine months ago when the vaccinations were starting to roll out, that it’s possible that this virus could become endemic, so it circulates in the population every year in the way that flu does,” he said.
“It’s possible that every year we’re having to go out and get our COVID jabs in the same way a lot of people are currently getting their flu jabs.”
PA contributed to this report.