All UK adults over the age of 50 have now been offered a first dose of a coronavirus vaccine, paving the way for the next phase of the rollout, the government said.
Boris Johnson hailed another “hugely important step” in the country’s disease protection agenda.
This means the government has met its goal of delivering the vaccine to all of its nine top priority groups, including clinically vulnerable workers and health and social service workers, three days ahead of its target date of April 15.
The Joint Committee on Vaccines and Immunization will present its final advice shortly for the completion of the program, which is expected to begin this week with people in their 40s.
The announcement comes after Ireland became the latest country to restrict the use of the AstraZeneca vaccine, saying it should not be given to people under the age of 60, amid concerns over possible links with rare blood clotting events.
In the United Kingdom, it is advised not to administer it to those under the age of 30.
In total, the government said nearly 40 million doses of the Pfizer and AstraZeneca vaccines have been delivered since the UK rollout began in December, including 32 million first injections and more than seven million second doses.
In a statement, Mr Johnson said they remain on track to deliver a first shot to all adults in the UK by the end of July.
“We have now taken another extremely important step in our immunization program by offering injections to everyone in the nine highest risk groups,” he said.
“This means that more than 32 million people have received the valuable protective vaccines against Covid 19.
“I would like to thank everyone involved in the deployment of the vaccine which has already saved thousands of lives.
“We will now move forward with completing the second essential doses and progressing towards our goal of providing all adults with a vaccine by the end of July.”
NHS patients in England are also expected to receive the Moderna Covid-19 vaccine from Tuesday.
Professor Stephen Powis, NHS England medical director, said: ‘We now have a third jab in our arsenal and NHS staff will be using it at more than 20 locations as of this week, with more to be online as supplies increase. ”
NHS England chief executive Sir Simon Stevens said 19 of the 20 over 50s had now received a first blow.
“Thanks to our NHS nurses, doctors, pharmacists, line managers and thousands of other staff and volunteers, the NHS Covid vaccination program is without doubt the most successful in our history.” , did he declare.
“This is one of our tickets to get out of this pandemic and offers real hope for the future.”
The announcement comes despite an earlier warning by the NHS in England of a “significant reduction in weekly supply” in April, meaning volumes for the first doses would be “considerably limited”.
Throughout the current month, the health service has prioritized second doses of Pfizer and AstraZeneca vaccines with a record 475,230 people receiving their second injection on Saturday.
Meanwhile, there will be an increase in testing in the boroughs of Lambeth and Wandsworth, south London, following the identification of a number of cases of a variant of the virus first discovered in South Africa.
Dozens of people have been asked to self-isolate after the Department of Health and Social Affairs said there had been 44 confirmed cases of the strain, along with 30 other suspects.
It came as scenes posted on social media of revelers gathering in Soho, central London, following the latest easing of lockdown restrictions in England were lifted, raised concerns that directives from social distancing should not be ignored.
Chris Hopson, managing director of NHS Providers, which represents NHS Trusts, said it was always important to prevent the spread of the disease following the “incredible success” of the vaccination program.
“While there is still some way to go with our immunization program, we welcome the progress made, with the injections expected to roll out to the over 40s this week and all priority groups have now offered a first dose. “, did he declare.
“As we return to pub gardens and sporting activities and return to non-essential stores, we must continue to do all we can to prevent the spread of infection and ensure this lockdown is the last. ”
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This notice was published: 2021-04-13 06:57:45