Sajid Javid urged people aged 40 to 49 to come forward for their third dose of vaccine from Monday, as the offer of a booster is extended to them.

It follows research published by the UK Health Security Agency ( UKHSA ) last week indicating that a third dose provides very strong protection.

“ That is absolutely key for us to keep this virus at bay. ” He called on people to accept the invitation to have a third dose "because that's the best way we can look forward to the kind of Christmas that we all want to see".

people aged 40 are being urged to get a booster jabs to help avoid another surge in cases in europe.

the national booking service will open to people aged 40 to 49 for their booster jab.

Sixteen and 17-year-olds will also be able to book in for their second jab from Monday.

mr 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.

Sajid Javid said the vaccine rollout will keep the surge sweeping Europe ‘at bay’ (Picture: PA)

'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. '

"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 the virus at bay."

so far, a total of 14 million boosters and third doses had been administered in the uk as of friday, the government said, with more than one million top-up jabs recorded since tuesday.

More than a million 40 to 49-year-olds can pre-book their appointments from Monday (Picture: Maureen McLean/Rex)

Vaccines Minister Maggie Throup added the booster jabs will help protect people's loved ones during the winter period this year.

She said : "We must protect the gains we have made through our vaccination programme this winter, and I urge everybody to help make this happen.

To book a booster jab, people can call 119 or visit one of the hundreds of NHS walk-in sites across the country- six months after their second dose- without an appointment.

The Health Secretary told Trevor Philips On Sunday on Sky News it was 'very sad to see cases surging in certain parts of Europe' and said ‘ we need to make sure we are doing everything we can to protect ourselves against that ’.

More than a million 40 to 49-year-olds can pre-book their appointments from Monday, and a further 1.5 million invites will be sent to this age group in the coming weeks, NHS England said.

Bookings can be made online or by calling 119.

He said the waning is also beginning to show in the 40 to 49 age group, something he would expect to increase in the absence of boosters.

in the uk, children aged 12 to 15 have been eligible for one covid-19 jab since september.

If the MHRA were to extend the licence for younger children, the Joint Committee on Vaccines and Immunisation ( JCVI ) would advise the government on how to interpret such a guidance change before the vaccines would be rolled out.

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