Over-30s in England are to be offered a coronavirus vaccine in the next fortnight as part of the vaccination programme, with the number of first doses administered expected to rise in May.
The news comes as over-40s in England have become eligible for the jab, with 41 and 42-year-olds to receive invitations to book in the coming days.
Overall vaccination numbers dipped in April, with a focus on getting second doses out to those who’d received their first.
The programme looks set to accelerate once again, however, with just under 600,000 doses administered on Wednesday, April 28, and ministers expecting a renewed surge in people getting first doses in May.
It’s likely the 35-39 group, reports The i, will be called up for their vaccination in the week beginning May 10.
If this date is correct, and supplies continue to be available, this suggests that the vaccination programme may actually be ahead of schedule – with the current target to have all adults in the UK given their first dose by the end of July.The government recently ordered 600,000 extra Pfizer jabs for a booster vaccination later this year, though the jabs may also be used to vaccinate under-30s. A ruling from a regulator says that this age group should be offered an alternative to the AstraZeneca jab due to reports of rare blood clots in a small number of people who had the vaccine.
Latest NHS data for England shows that 89 per cent of 50-54-year-olds and 70 per cent of 45-49-year-olds had had their first dose by last Sunday (April 25).
High numbers of elderly people have been vaccinated, with around 95 per cent of older age groups taking up their first dose.
NHS England chief executive Sir Simon Stevens told The i: “With nine tenths of people aged 45 and over having been jabbed, nearly three quarters of a million new appointments were made in just two days as our booking service opened to people aged 42 to 44.
"With second doses also proceeding apace, we’re now ready to invite all those aged 40 and over to join the most successful vaccination drive in health service history.”