Speaking to Sky News, he said: “There’s no plans to stop Christmas happening.”
He continued: “We really do need to make sure we have these boosters when we’re called, or potentially we could find ourselves in a challenging position.”
Presenter Kay Burley pointed out that this was the government’s message this time last year – but then the festive season was scaled down and the social distancing rules were changed two days before Christmas to prevent households mixing.
Dowden replied: “The huge difference this time is the vaccine, and the impact of the vaccine – the way we keep that wall of defence protected is get your booster when you’re called up.
“Compared to where we were last year, 0% of people had the vaccine.
“We’re now at 89-90% of adults with the vaccine.
“That is what is protecting us from going back to what we had at Christmas.”
Almost nine in 10 people aged over 12 have received a single jab of the Covid vaccine, while almost eight in 10 are now fully-vaccinated, having received their second dose as well.
Those aged over 50 – along with the clinically vulnerable – are now being asked to get their boosters.
But Dowden also refused to rule out bringing back travel restrictions when pressed by Burley, and maintained that “it is in our hands” whether further preventative Covid measures are brought in this winter.
He claimed: “I am confident that if we stick the course, people take the boosters when they are asked to do so, that vaccine wall will hold up and we will be able to have a decent Christmas this year.”
His response follows growing concerns about another Covid wave emerging in Europe – Austria has just announced a lockdown for the unvaccinated members of its population for the next 10 days and the Netherlands is in a partial lockdown for at least three weeks.
Dowden also claimed that if a new variant emerged, the government would have to re-examine its rues.
“We haven’t ruled it out. If the situation changes dramatically, we would have to review that again.”
The prime minister Boris Johnson also urged the public to get their booster jabs on Sunday, noting: “I’ve got to be absolutely frank with people, we’ve been here before and we remember what happened when a wave starts rolling in.”
He added: “What I’m also saying is if we don’t do it fast enough we can see the potential risks to the state of the pandemic in what’s happening in other parts of Europe.”