UK’s Johnson says ‘at least one’ person has died from omicron

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At least one person has died from the omicron variant of COVID-19 in the U.K., British Prime Minister Boris Johnson confirmed Monday, reports The Washington Post

“Sadly yes, omicron is producing hospitalizations, and sadly, at least one patient has been confirmed to have died with omicron,” Johnson said while on a visit to a vaccination clinic in Paddington, London, reports CNBC News.

The U.K. leader urged Britons to get their booster shots: “So I think the idea that this is somehow a milder version of the virus, I think that’s something we need to set on one side and just recognize the sheer pace at which it accelerates through the population. So the best thing we can do is all get our boosters.”

People in the U.K. have been lining up to get booster shots, waiting outside of vaccination clinics as many have been unable to book appointments on the U.K. National Health Service (NHS) website due to a reported crash, notes the Post. 

British Health Secretary Sajid Javid said Monday that the U.K. was in a “race between the virus and the vaccine,” as he discussed the spread of the omicron variant throughout the country Monday on BBC News

Javid also noted that the virus was spreading at a “phenomenal rate,” as the country’s cases have been doubling every two to three days, reports BBC. 

The health secretary called the booster program “urgent,” and called for nonurgent doctor appointments to be postponed until the new year, though he reassured that those undergoing cancer treatment would not be impacted by these delays. 

On Sunday, Johnson said that the U.K. faced a “tidal wave of omicron,” as he then opened up booster shots to all adults in the country and deployed military units to establish sites in the U.K. to administer the shots. 

“I’m afraid it is now clear that two doses of vaccine are simply not enough to give the level of protection we all need,” Johnson said. “But the good news is that our scientists are confident that with a third dose, a booster dose, we can all bring our level of protection back up.”

A study from Israel released Saturday backed up Pfizer-BioNTech’s findings that three doses of their vaccine were able to neutralize the omicron variant of COVID-19; however, two doses were found significantly less effective at preventing infection from omicron.

Despite this, Pfizer researchers have said that two doses of the vaccine may still offer protection from severe disease and death from the omicron variant of the coronavirus. 

Tags Booster dose Boris Johnson Coronavirus COVID-19 England London omicron Pfizer United Kingdom Variant

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