Vaccination continues to offer our best line of defence against hospitalisation due to covid-19. The latest data shows vaccine effectiveness against hospitalisation with the omicron variant was 58% after one dose and 64% up to 24 weeks after two doses. Vaccine effectiveness against hospitalisation was 92% in the first two to four weeks after a third dose or booster and 83% after 10 or more weeks. Those who are unvaccinated are eight times more likely to be hospitalised. That is why it is so important that everybody takes up the offer to get boosted.
I thank the Minister for that reply. The facts are that the vaccination programme has been massively successful in reducing hospitalisation, particularly admission to intensive therapy units. So will the Minister confirm that, on 26 January, particularly given what we now know about the nature of the covid variant that we are currently struggling with, those regulations will lapse? Will she further confirm that she will amend advice on working from home? Most importantly, will she ensure that we reverse the counterproductive compulsory vaccination of NHS staff that the Government’s own figures suggest—
Although evidence shows that the omicron variant causes less severe disease than previous variants, yesterday in England we still had over 16,000 covid patients in hospital and over 84,000 reported cases. Plan B measures are currently in place in England, and will be reviewed before the regulations expire on 26 January. The best thing everyone can do to help to keep the virus under control is to keep coming forward for booster jabs to help to stop the spread of infection and manage the immediate pressures on the NHS.
I am seriously concerned about the rapidly depleting efficacy of the vaccine—at 10 weeks, between 40% and 50% protection—and therefore my question to the Minister is: what happens next? Already we are talking about a mandatory programme of vaccine for NHS staff which will see depletion after 10 weeks, but also public health measures may be removed: what next after the booster?