UK braces itself for 'tidal wave of Omicron'

Lining up around the block to get boosted.

These were the scenes from London's St Thomas' Hospital on Monday (December 13) and were replicated in many parts of Britain after the UK government announced plans to accelerate its vaccine booster program, due to concerns over the more transmissible Omicron variant...

... which the UK government said on Monday will become the dominant coronavirus strain the the capital within 48 hours.

Data from Oxford University has also become among the latest to indicate Omicron is more easily breaking through immunity provided by two-doses of the vaccine.

Matthew Snape is a professor of vaccinology there. He says boosters are key.

"There is a worrying drop off in neutralizing antibodies and we know that a third dose really boosts immunity very well. Whether you’ve had two doses of AstraZeneca before or two doses Pfizer, if you get another dose of Pfizer for example you see a really significant increase in antibodies and that is much more likely to provide protection against Omicron so I think it is important to prioritise that."

During a visit to a vaccination center, the prime minister also announced at least one person has now died from Omicron.

"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 all do is get our boosters."

An online booking system for booster shots for the UK's National Health Service has been plagued by issues due to high demand.

While at-home lateral flow testing kits were also unavailable to order online, and when asked about that, this was the Prime Minister's response:

"The site says there aren't any left?"

"We do have a ready supply of lateral flow tests. If you can't get one online for any reason, then there are ample supplies in the, in the shops."

In ramping up the number of third doses for eligible adults in England, the Prime Minister hopes to ward off what he's described an approaching tidal wave.