The Prime Minister has praised the UK’s Covid-19 vaccination effort for putting the UK in an “incomparably better” position than this time last year.
Boris Johnson used his New Year’s message to announce that the country had met its ambitious target of offering all adults the chance to get a booster jab by 31 December.
In a message posted on social media, The PM confirmed that seven in 10 eligible adults in England have now received their booster dose, with an extra eight million vaccines delivered since the target was brought forward on 12 December.
He also reflects on the achievements of the UK over the past year, saying the country has had the fastest economic growth in the G7, record employment levels and massive global investments in the British tech sector this year.
Mr Johnson said: “Whatever the challenges that fate continues to throw in our way and whatever the anxieties we may have about the weeks and months ahead, particularly about Omicron and the growing numbers in hospitals, we can say one thing with certainty, our position this December 31 is incomparably better than last year.
“This country has the fastest economic growth in the G7. We have more people in work now than there were before the pandemic began. And if you want a sign of future growth – look at the massive global investment in British high tech. Almost £30 billion into the UK tech sector this year - twice as much tech investment as Germany, three times as much as France.
“And there is one reason – one overriding reason – why the UK has been able to maintain the most open economy and society of any major European economy. And that is because the British people have responded heroically, voluntarily, and in almost incredible numbers to the call to get vaccinated.
“And as I speak tonight on New Year’s Eve, we’ve met our target, we’ve doubled the speed of the booster roll out. And it’s precisely because of that huge national effort that we can celebrate tonight at all.”
The positive New Year’s message ends with a note of caution, with people who are celebrating the arrival of 2022 urged to continue taking precautions.
Mr Johnson stressed the importance of taking lateral flow tests before meeting with others, practicing good hygiene, and ventilating rooms.
He also urged people in Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland to follow the Covid-19 guidance set out by the devolved governments, where rules are slightly stricter than in England.
The PM added: “Though I must of course urge everyone to be cautious and to take a test if you are going out and to remember the importance of ventilation.
“Follow the rules if you are in Scotland or Wales or Northern Ireland.
“And I want to speak directly to all those who have yet to get fully vaccinated.
“The people who think the disease can’t hurt them, look at the people going into hospital now, that could be you.
“Look at the intensive care units and the miserable, needless suffering of those who did not get their booster, that could be you.
“So, make it your New Year’s resolution, far easier than losing weight or keeping a diary, find a walk-in centre or make an online appointment.”