Prime Minister Boris Johnson has used his Christmas message to urge people to get boosted and vaccinated against Covid-19, suggesting it is the Christ-like thing to do.
In a video message released ahead of Christmas Day, he said that “getting jabbed not just for themselves, for ourselves, but for friends and family and everyone we meet”.
“That, after all, is the teaching of Jesus Christ, whose birth is at the heart of this enormous festival – that we should love our neighbours as we love ourselves,” he said.
He also reflected on how this year more families can meet after last year’s cancelled Christmas.
“If this year you need a bigger turkey and there are more sprouts to peel and more washing up to do, then that is all to the good, because these rituals matter so deeply,” he said.
“And I hope that people will enjoy this Christmas this year all the more keenly because of what we had to miss last year.”
His Christmas message echoes the words of the Archbishop of Canterbury, Justin Welby, who also said earlier this week that getting vaccinated was about loving our neighbour.
“I would say, go and get boosted, get vaccinated. It’s how we love our neighbour. Loving our neighbour is what Jesus told us to do. It’s Christmas, do what he said,” he said.
Johnson has resisted pressure to clamp down on Christmas gatherings, but the government has signalled that tighter restrictions could be coming in around the New Year.
Studies suggest that omicron is milder than delta but record-breaking Covid case rates continue to cause concern.
There were over 122,000 confirmed new cases in the UK on Thursday, while hospitalisations have risen by a fifth.