All adults in Britain are to be offered booster jabs to step up the battle against the Omicron covid variant, a vaccines chief has confirmed.

Professor Anthony Harnden, deputy chair of the Joint Committee on Vaccination and Immunisation (JCVI), said the booster programme would be extended to all 18 to 39-year-olds.

Six more cases of the Omicron variant were confirmed in Scotland as health chiefs were racing to trace the contacts of other individuals who got the mutated virus.

Ministers are seeking to slow the spread of the mutation amid fears it may be more resistant to vaccines and could transmit more quickly than the Delta variant which is dominant in the UK and many other countries.

At her covid press briefing today, Nicola Sturgeon said that the Scottish Government was already considering the operational logistics of mass booster vaccinations for the entire adult population.

Sturgeon said: “We are already going very fast in the booster programme, we are the most vaccinated part of the UK, we are already trying to step that up.”

“Not everybody is going to get vaccinated one day after the advice changes, I think we we know that from previous phases of the vaccination programme.

"But we will be operationalising this as quickly as we can to get through all of the groups that are recommended for the booster as quickly as possible.”

The SNP leader added: “Vaccines remain our best line of defence and I want to stress at this point, if and it is still an if, the vaccines do prove to be less effective against this new variant, vaccination will still be hugely important – less effective does not mean ineffective.

“If anything the new variant makes it more important not less important to get all doses of the vaccine.”

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