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The warning comes as Health Secretary Sajid Javid announced that from tomorrow people aged 40 to 49 will be able to book their third dose of the Covid vaccine.

Teenagers aged 16 and 17 who want a second jab and over-40s seeking the booster can book their vaccinations by calling 119 from tomorrow.

Health Secretary Sajid Javid said : "Getting your COVID-19 booster vaccine is the best way to keep yourself and your loved ones safe this winter and will help reduce the pressure on the NHS.

"While the government is continuing to monitor a wide range of data to ensure the country remains protected, we have very sadly seen a surge in cases in parts of Europe.

the most important thing we can do to stop a similar rise in this country is get the jab – so please get your vaccines as soon as you can so we can keep the virus at bay."

So far, a total of 14 million people in the UK have already received their booster vaccines and more than 50 million first doses ( 88.2 % ) and 46 million second doses ( 80.2 % ) have been given out.

Vaccines minister Maggie Throup added to the calls for ­people to take up the booster.

At present, vaccines are not being offered to any child younger than the age of 12. Pictured: File image of a 14-year-old receiving his jab on August 14, 2021

"we must protect the gains we have made through our vaccination programme this winter" she said.

"Please get your boosters when eligible, and get your first and second doses if you haven't already, to secure vital protection during the winter to keep you and your loved ones safe."

to book a booster jab, people can also go to one of many walk-in sites across the country.

Asked about the newspaper report, NHS England said : "The NHS regularly plans for how it would operationalise opening vaccines to more people so it is ready to extend the jab quickly when and if any decision is recommended by the JCVI."

Before any rollout can be announced for children of this age (stock image), the vaccines would need to be approved for use on this age group by the Medicines and Healthcare products Regulatory Agency (MHRA)

Covid-19 vaccines are licensed in the UK only for children aged 12 and over, and any decision on extending them to children younger than 12 would be made by the Medicines and Healthcare products Regulatory Agency ( MHRA ).

According to a report in the Sun newspaper, leaked proposals suggest that health bosses are preparing to roll out the jab to children aged between five and 11 in the spring.

An unnamed source told the Sun that plans for who gets the jab could change, adding that asking parents for permission to vaccinate young children "is in the schedule".

The MHRA said vaccines would only be authorised for children in this age category if safety, quality and effectiveness standards had been met.

People who have had their booster vaccine by December 11 will have high protection by Christmas Day (Image: Getty)

US health officials approved giving a third of a normal Pfizer Covid vaccine dose to five to 11-year-olds in early November, a move that means 28 million children in that age group will become eligible for a child-sized Covid shot.

this week, experts from the uk health security agency said children should not get a vaccine until 12 weeks later.

deferring the jab could help to reduce even further the "very, very small" risk of heart inflammation after vaccination.

the national booking service will now be open to people who are aged 40-49 to get their third dose of vaccine, and to 16-17-year-olds for their second doses.

The government urged people to vaccinate in order to avoid a lockdown during Christmas (Image: Getty)

The new advice comes ahead of people gearing up to visit their loved ones and mix socially for Christmas festivities, as countries in Europe are now starting to see a worrying spike in cases and are bringing in further lockdown restrictions.

Additionally, the Joint Committee on Vaccination and Immunisation ( JCVI ) also needs to approve the rollout.

But as of this week, 16 and 17-year-olds can now come forward for the second jab after the UK's regulator decided the benefit of the jabs 'clearly' outweighed the risk.

last week, england's deputy chief medical officer professor jonathan van-tam said the jcvi 'will be considering' whether to follow the us in expanding the rollout to over-fives.

Speaking earlier this week, England's chief medical officer Christ Whitty (pictured) said that vaccinating any children as young as five in the UK is a long way off

People eligible for a booster can get the top-up jab from six months after having their second dose.

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