he UK has overtaken Israel in the race to become the most boosted nation in the world.
Britain has distributed the second highest number of third jabs after take-up climbed to 45.2 per cent.
The figure beats the number administered in Israel which stands at 44.9 per cent.
However, the UK lags behind Chile which has given boosters to 52.7 per cent of people.
Israel was one of the first countries to vaccinate large swathes of its population last year, but its roll-out has since slowed.
Just 63 per cent of its population of 9.3 million people has now been double jabbed – behind the UK and many countries in Europe
The rollout will continue on Christmas Eve, Christmas Day and Boxing Day, with around 200,000 appointments for a third dose available across the country over the festive period.
Experts have warned people to get a third jab after research showed that boosters provide a far higher protection against Omicron than two doses.
Dr Emily Lawson, head of the NHS Covid vaccination programme, said: “We’ve seen record after record broken in the run-up to the festive season and I want to thank every NHS staff member and volunteer whose goodwill and determination to protect their communities will keep the booster rollout going this Christmas weekend.
“This Christmas, before sitting down to your dinner with your family, I would encourage anyone not already boosted to come forward, book an appointment and get the gift of a jab.”
On Wednesday, 1.06 million vaccines were administered – a record total. Of these, 968,665 were top-up doses.
Health Secretary Sajid Javid paid tribute to NHS staff and volunteers.
He said: “Thank-you for everything that you’ve done and everything that you’re doing – this Christmas and all year round.
“You continue to be the very best of us – you achieve phenomenal things and I’m proud to call you colleagues.”
NHS England chief Amanda Pritchard praised the “extraordinary team effort” of health service staff in the face of Omicron.
“I know it is a worrying time professionally and personally for everyone, and that many colleagues are drained after such a gruelling period,” she said.
“The NHS is nothing without its incredible staff. This time, thanks to NHS staff and volunteers, we are armed with the protection offered by first, second and booster doses.”