Booking for a Covid booster has been extended as the Omicron variant spreads in the UK.

The vaccine booking system has been extended to allow adults aged 40 and older the ability to book a booster jab just three months after their second dose.

This has been reduced from the original six months which was recommended by the Joint Committee on Vaccine and Immunisation.

You will also be able to book your booster a month in advance as part of the extension.

Daily Echo: A person being given the vaccine. Credit: PAA person being given the vaccine. Credit: PA

The news comes as the Omicron variant sweeps the globe after it was first detected in South Africa in November.

There have been 336,893 new Covid-19 cases reported in the past seven days, including 45,691 on Tuesday, December 7 – the highest since the week of January 16 2021.

101 additional cases of the Omicron variant have been reported across the UK, with the total now reaching 437, according to official figures.

The Government has brought in 450 military personnel and vaccination sites including community pharmacies, hospital hubs and pop-up sites to speed up the process.

Health Secretary Sajid Javid extend Covid booster programme

Daily Echo: Health Secretary Sajid Javid. Credit: PAHealth Secretary Sajid Javid. Credit: PA

Health Secretary Sajid Javid said: “We are boosting our booster programme to get more jabs in arms quickly and from today, millions of people over the age of 40 in England will be able to pre-book their booster jab two months after their second dose, a month ahead of them becoming eligible for their top-up vaccine.

“We are halving the gap that people have to wait to get their booster to three months – prioritising those most at risk of serious illness and strengthening our collective defences in light of the Omicron variant, as the virus goes on the advance this winter.”

Wednesday, December 8 marks exactly a year since the first coronavirus vaccine was given in the UK.

Margaret Keenan, a 90-year-old grandmother, was the first person in the UK to be given the vaccine, in Coventry, last year.

The vaccination programme has since delivered almost 120 million vaccines and the NHS is looking to recruit tens of thousands more volunteers to deliver jabs in a new campaign.

Prime Minister Boris Johnson said: “Since the first jab was delivered one year ago today, our phenomenal vaccine rollout has saved hundreds of thousands of lives and given us the best possible protection against Covid-19.

“So many people have been involved in this national vaccination effort, including our brilliant NHS staff, pharmacists, the military, the thousands of volunteers who dedicated themselves to the rollout, the incredible scientists, researchers and their teams who developed these life-saving vaccinations and, crucially, every single one of you who has taken up the offer of a jab with such enthusiasm.”

While the Prime Minister said the fight against coronavirus is not over yet, he added: “Vaccines remain our first and best line of defence against the virus.”

Mr Javid added: “The battle is not yet over and we are working around the clock to boost the booster programme to maximise immunity following the emergence of the Omicron variant.”