New figures show what a worse position the UK is relative to the rest of the world on Covid.
The rate of people with coronavirus in the UK is 42% higher than the EU average.
Horrifying statistics show Britain is recording some of the highest confirmed cases, hospitalisations and death in western Europe.
Diminishing immunity explains part of the rise of Covid cases - 8.5 million Brits are recording a positive Covid test.
While the EU has an average of about 84,000 infected people per million of the population, the average in the the UK is about 124,000.
Spain has 106,628 cases per million, France has 106,354 and Germany has 52,229.
The rapid Covid vaccination rollout means that many Brits have had their second Covid dose at least months ago.
Some 75% of UK adults passed that point compared to around 35% in Italy and France.
Slow vaccine take-up among younger age groups has also seen Britain fall down international league tables for the overall percentage of the population vaccinated.
Professor Adam Finn, member of the Joint Committee for Vaccination and Immunisation (JCVI), said: "The really important vaccine doses that we need to give both nationally and internationally are the people who are not yet been immunised. That’s our priority.
"Finding a way to immunise such people, including those who are hesitant to receive the new vaccine platforms for one reason or another, is a very viable and important priority."
Professor Finn of Bristol University was presenting trial results of the latest Covid-19 vaccine by Valneva shown to work.
He added: "We’re all drifting into a position where we are kind of beginning to talk like the pandemic is done and dusted. That way of thinking is premature."
Around one in four adults who received their second vaccine dose at least five months ago have still not had a booster jab.
The JCVI recommended Brits get third doses at least six months after the first.
Around 8% of UK adults who received their second dose at least six months ago have not had a booster shot.
King’s College London’s COVID Symptom Study concluded in August that the effectiveness of the AstraZeneca jab fell from 77% to 67% at four to five months after a second dose.
The drop off for the Pfizer jab was slightly less at 88% to 74%.
Israel was one of the few countries ahead of the UK in the initial vaccine rollout and has seen a huge surge in infections in recent months as vaccine protection wanes.
The Our World Data comparison project by the John Hopkins University in the US shows Israel also has a high rate of people who have been infected with the virus.
Its rate is higher than the UK’s at 149,642 per million of the population.
The number of UK daily deaths within 28 days of a positive Covid test dropped to between 20 and 30 over the summer.
The latest UK seven-day average for Covid deaths has 106 people dying each day.
Professor Linda Bauld, of University of Edinburgh, told the Guardian: "We’re in a phase where we still have large numbers of people dying from this disease.
"But it has gone into the background. We’ve become used to something that has not gone away. I think there’s been a desensitisation to the mortality."
Professor Robert West, a behavioural scientist at University College London, said: "There’s some who are of the view that Covid is becoming endemic, it was always going to become endemic and we just need to get on with it.
"Then we’ve got another group of scientists saying 'Look around the world at other countries that won’t tolerate such high rates of infection.'"
Downing Street acknowledged that winter would be "challenging" when questioned about rising coronavirus rates.
The Prime Minister's official spokesman said: "We obviously keep very close watch on the latest statistics.
"We always knew the coming months would be challenging.
"What we are seeing is case rates, hospitalisations and deaths still broadly in line with the modelling as set out a few months back now.
"The vaccination programme will continue to be our first line of defence, along with new treatments, testing and public health advice.
"But we will obviously keep a close watch on cases. But it is thanks to our vaccination programme that we are able to substantially break the link between cases, hospitalisations and deaths."
EUROPE - INFECTIONS PER MILLION (as of Oct 16)
- Montenegro - 218,773.64
- Andorra - 198,283.22
- Georgia - 165,274
- San Marino - 160,923.26
- Czech Republic - 159,237.96
- Serbia - 151,089.20
- Slovenia - 147,928.80
- Lithuania - 136,245.28
- Cyprus - 136,154.37
- Estonia - 129,336.37
- *UK - 123,797.67
- Netherlands - 121,320.25
- Sweden - 114,361.70
- Belgium - 110,026.84
- Spain - 106,628.80
- France - 106,354.23
- Portugal - 106,151.57
- *EU - 86,889.75