Johnson Claims 9 in 10 Critical Patients Have Not Had COVID-19 Booster
PM Boris Johnson raised fears over the new Omicron variant in early December, taking the opportunity to urge residents to get the third booster jab as soon as possible. Since then, uptake has risen to almost 33 million people, with one million jabs given in a single day just before Christmas.
British Prime Minister Boris Johnson has claimed 90 percent of patients in intensive care wards have not yet had a third booster of the COVID-19 vaccine.
In his latest sales pitch for the Pfizer and Moderna
booster shots, the PM told reporters at a vaccination centre in Milton Keynes that 2.4 million double-jabbed denizens of the Sceptred Isle who were eligible for the third dose had not yet had it.
"I'm sorry to say this but the overwhelming majority of people who are currently ending up in intensive care in our hospitals are people who are not boosted", Johnson said. "I've talked to doctors who say the numbers are running up to 90 percent of people in intensive care, who are not boosted".
"If you're not vaccinated, you're eight times more likely to get into hospital altogether", he added "So it's a great thing to do. It's very, very important. Get boosted for yourself, and enjoy New Year sensibly and cautiously".
But a Downing Street spokesman later clarified to Sky News political correspondent Kate McCann that Johnson's comments merely reflected "anecdotal evidence" from "some NHS Trusts" rather than hard statistics.
Twitter users pointed out that the PM's comments implied that most intensive care patients had already had the two-dose regimen of coronavirus vaccines, just not the third jab.
28 December 2021, 21:57 GMT
Figures from the UK Health Security Agency
show that the majority of hospitalisations in all age ranges over 50, and the majority of deaths overall, are among fully-vaccinated people. An estimated 26 percent
of hospital patients with confirmed or suspected cases of the new Omicron variant are unvaccinated, while 92 percent of new cases are believed to be of Omicron.
However, some two-thirds of patients in hospital with the coronavirus reportedly test positive only after they are admitted
, suggesting they are either incidental cases or victims of opportunistic infections.
Almost 57 percent
of Britons over the age of 12 have had the booster since the new immunisation drive began on 1 October. Uptake among over-65s, the most vulnerable age range, is around 85 percent
But despite the rapid pace of the booster roll-out, the daily number of deaths of people within four weeks of testing positive is holding steady at around 100 — the same figure as in early October.
The daily count of people testing positive hit a record high of over 129,000 on Tuesday. The number of hospitalisations with the virus rose sharply to almost 1,200 for the latest reported day, but the number of patients on mechanical ventilation continued to fall to 842.
Johnson raised the alarm over the newly-arrived Omicron variant from South Africa in early December, re-imposing mandatory mask-wearing in public buildings and transport along with vaccine passports for entry to large venues — with support from the opposition Labour Party.
But the PM balked at further lockdown restrictions over Christmas
and the New Year
, just as the opposition-run devolved administrations in Scotland, Wales, and Northern Ireland ordered unpopular nightclub closures
and strict social distancing rules in pubs, cafes, and restaurants.