The Government is launching a new push to persuade the five million eligible people who are yet to be vaccinated to receive the jab, as part of Plan A.
Mr Johnson said that “fixing that gap in the number of people who have had their vaccine at whatever age” was the most important message of his Downing Street press conference on Tuesday.
It would make a “significant difference”, added Sir Patrick.
Prof Chris Whitty, the Chief Medical Officer for England, highlighted data showing that an unvaccinated person in their thirties is at the same risk of hospitalisation from the virus as a fully jabbed person in their seventies.
The Prime Minister said it was a “very, very powerful” statistic, as he also warned that, depending on their age, people are up to nine times more likely to die from Covid if they are unvaccinated compared with being double jabbed.
Prof Whitty acknowledged the right of people with “strange beliefs” to reject the jab themselves, but hit out at anti-vaxxers peddling “clearly ridiculous” myths in a bid to influence others against receiving the vaccine.
He said people sharing untruths about the jab in a bid to “scare” others should be “ashamed” of themselves.
Another key pillar of Plan A, which has been set out this week, is for booster jabs to be rolled out to all over 50s, younger adults with health conditions, and frontline health and care workers. The third dose will be offered six months after the second dose, with the Pfizer-BioNTech and Moderna jab recommended. It will be rolled out from next week.
Sir Patrick said that while the vaccines’ effectiveness was generally holding up “very well”, there was evidence that it was fading, particularly those who were most vulnerable. “The waning of immunity is clear,” he said.
The booster campaign comes in addition to the decision on Monday by the four chief medical officers of the UK to recommend that children aged 12 to 15 years old be offered a single dose of the Pfizer-BioNTech vaccine.