Get the booster jab, says Church of England as Omicron spreads

(Photo: Facebook/Church of England)

With increased concern over the spread of the new Omicron variant, the Church of England is advising people to take the booster jab as soon as they can.

The government is accelerating the rollout of booster jabs in a bid to keep infection rates down. All over-18s are to be eligible, while the gap between second doses and booster shots is to be reduced from six months to three. 

The Bishop of London, Sarah Mullally, who leads the CofE's Covid Recovery Group, said the emergence of Omicron was "a concern for all of us".

She is advising people to get their booster as soon as possible.

"If you are eligible, please also have your booster jab as soon as it is available," she said.

The emergence of the new strain has prompted changes to the red list for international travel and the reintroduction of face masks in shops and public transport across England on Tuesday.

There has been no change to official CofE Covid guidance as yet. The bishop said Church guidelines would be updated in line with any new government regulations and guidance. 

Churches are being urged to continue taking precautions.

"We are grateful to the scientists around the world who have identified this strain so quickly and are working hard to learn more about it," she said. 

"As yet, little is known about its potential impact and we must exercise patience as we wait for further information.

"As we do so, there are important steps we should take now to protect ourselves and each another.

"The government has outlined the return of compulsory face coverings in shops and on public transport in England and we should also continue to take other public health precautions that, by now, are very familiar, such as regular hand-washing, observing physical distancing and ensuring good ventilation indoors."