UK Omicron cases rise 50% in 24 hours as Brits rush to get booster jabs

OMICRON cases in the UK have risen by 1,576 in the last 24 hours – taking the total to 4,713.

Infections of the mutant variant have gone up by 50 per cent in a day.

It comes as booster slots opened up for over-30s on the NHS website this morning.

People rushed to secure a booking to get fully protected against the variant, after the latest data showed three jabs are needed to fight off the infection.

Of the new cases reported today, 1,534 are in England, 27 are from Scotland and 15 are from Wales.

It comes as the first UK death from the Omicron variant was confirmed by Boris Johnson this morning.

The UKHSA revealed ten patients were in English hospitals with the mutated strain – between 18-85 years old, most having had two jabs.

Brits have been urged to get their boosters to fight the wave of variant cases.

🔵 Read our Omicron live blog for the latest updates

Speaking during a visit to a vaccination clinic near Paddington, in west London, the Prime Minister said: "Sadly yes Omicron is producing hospitalisations and sadly at least one patient has been confirmed to have died with Omicron.

"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 recognise the sheer pace at which it accelerates through the population.

"So the best thing we can do is all get our boosters."

In new data from Sage, the group that advises the Government, it is estimated two Covid jabs should slash the risk of dying from Omicron by up to 84 per cent.

But the models also showed the chance of simply catching the virus and falling ill is twice reduced if you have a booster too.

The latest data revealed boosters offer up to 75 per cent protection from mild infection from Omicron.

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UKHSA figures showed immunity from two doses of AstraZeneca was close to zero after six months, but a third dose with Pfizer saw protection from the super-strain rocket as high as 70 per cent.

Even with full protection, as cases rise and we near Christmas, it's still advised to wear masks, keep washing hands and keep windows open for ventilation.

The Sun's Jab's Army has urged Brits to come forward and have their life-saving Covid shot, with volunteers also needed to drive the rollout.

It comes as the NHS website to book boosters crashed as Brits flooded onto it hoping to secure slots, and the lateral flow ordering site declared it had run out for the day.

Walk-in centres, such as the Greendale Vaccination Centre in Devon, said they couldn't accept any more people due to huge demand, after long snakes of queueing people grew outside hubs all over the country.

Despite being highly ­contagious, initial studies indicate the new strain does not often lead to serious disease like the Delta variant if fully vaccinated.

Professor Tim Spector, from King’s College London, examined UK Omicron super-spreader events involving older people — and found the patients mainly suffered “sniffles”.

He said: “What we’re seeing so far is that symptoms are very, very mild.

“Most of my information comes from one big event, a 60th birthday party where 18 people aged 60 to 75 spent the night together in a hotel.

"Most of them had symptoms of a cold — sniffles, sore throat and fatigue were common."

But even with full protection, as cases rise and we near Christmas, it's still advised to wear masks, keep washing hands and keep windows open for ventilation.

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