A PLAN for tackling Covid during autumn and winter in England includes offering booster jabs to millions - but holds in reserve measures like mandatory vaccine passports for certain settings.

Prime Minister Boris Johnson outlined a Plan A - promoting vaccines and continuing testing and isolation rules.

He said Plan B - with measures including face masks - would aim to prevent the NHS being overwhelmed.

The PM emphasised how “smaller changes” now have a big effect, thanks to jabs.

“More harmful economic and social restrictions would only be considered as a last resort,” the autumn and winter plan says.

Under Plan A, ministers will:

Encourage the unvaccinated to be jabbed.

Offer vaccines to 12 to 15-year-olds.

Begin a booster jab programme for millions.

It will also include continuing testing, tracing of cases and self-isolation for those who catch the virus, Mr Johnson told a Downing Street news conference.

Businesses will also be encouraged to consider using the NHS Covid Pass to check the vaccination or test status of customers.

Under Plan B:

The public would be urged to act more cautiously.

Mandatory vaccine passports could be used for mass events and other settings.

Face coverings could be legally-mandated in some places.

Guidance on working from home may also be issued under this plan, but Mr Johnson stressed the benefit of returning to the workplace for younger people.

Asked in what circumstances he would consider moving from Plan A to B, the prime minister said he would consider the risks through real-time data.

“The thing I would stress about Plan B is that it contains a number of different shots in the locker and you wouldn’t necessarily play them all at once,” he said.

“Because so many of the population have some degree of immunity, smaller changes in the way we’re asking people to behave can have a bigger impact.”

Prof Chris Whitty, the UK government’s chief medical adviser, warned that “winter is coming” and that respiratory viruses such as flu and others would be “hugely advantaged”.

“If you’ve not had your vaccination, now is a very good time to do so,” he said.

Earlier, Health Secretary Sajid Javid told MPs it was highly likely frontline NHS staff and those in wider social care settings will need to have Covid-19 and flu vaccinations so they can be deployed.

The health secretary said the government would be “keeping an open mind” and waiting for the results of a consultation but he believed this would be “an important step in protecting those at greatest risk”.

He described Plan B measures as those “that we can call upon only if they are needed and supported by the data to prevent unsustainable pressure on the NHS”.

Mr Johnson appealed to the five million people who have not taken up the offer of a Covid vaccine to finally get the jab in an effort to avoid tougher restrictions over the winter.

As the Prime Minister launched his plan to “live” with the disease through the coming months, his chief scientific adviser Sir Patrick Vallance said getting vaccination levels up was the key to maintaining lighter controls. At the same time, chief medical officer for England Professor Chris Whitty launched a stinging attack on people who peddled “myths” about the supposed dangers of the jab.

Mr Javid confirmed all over-50s in the UK – as well as those in other vulnerable groups – would would be offered a booster shot to maintain protection levels as the country enters the autumn. Mr Johnson said he hoped the vaccination programme meant the UK could remain “one of the most free societies” in Europe with only limited restrictions.