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Omicron variant: Surge in over-50s coming forward for first Covid jab in past 2 weeks

Nearly 20.7 million people aged 50 and over have now received their first jab – but there are still an estimated 667,000 people unvaccinated in England.

Tens of thousands of over 50s in England have come forward for their first Covid jab in the past two weeks, with rising Omicron infections appearing to prompt a boost in willingness to get vaccinated.

According to the Government’s latest coronavirus figures, the rolling average of first dose vaccinations given to over 50s has increased by almost a third in the two weeks to 12 December.

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A total of 20,929 over 50s got their first jab in the 14 days to 12 December. In the latest seven-day period, the daily average was 1,559 jabs per day – a figure that was up by 9% in a week and 30% over two weeks.

Seven-day averages are used to smooth out spikes and dips on certain days of the week.

The analysis comes after MPs backed plans to introduce vaccine passports in a bid to slow the spread of coronavirus. The NHS Covid Pass is now mandatory to enter nightclubs and other venues across the country.

With the booster rollout being ramped up in response to the Omicron threat, it means thousands of potentially vulnerable people have received their first jab to provide some protection over the winter months.

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Nearly 20.7 million people aged 50 and over have now received their first dose of a coronavirus vaccine – but there are still an estimated 667,000 people unvaccinated.

Analysis is based on population figures from the Office of National Statistics.

According to the NHS, those aged 50 and over are at higher risk from Covid.

Reassuring figures

Caroline Abrahams, charity director at Age UK said: “It is reassuring to see a rise in the numbers of over 50s coming forward for their Covid vaccinations - it’s vitally important that everyone who is eligible actually receives their jabs, and as soon as possible, especially now with the new variant Omicron surging through communities.

Ms Abrahams encouraged people to get the vaccine and flu jab when it is offered this winter.

‘A tidal wave of infections’

Earlier today (16 December) at the Commons Health and Social Care Committee Professor Chris Whitty, chief medical officer for England, told MPs that many unvaccinated people he encounters on wards are not anti-vaxxers but people who had not got round to getting a jab.

He encouraged everyone to get vaccinated.

The Department of Health and Social Care did not provide a comment but did point to a Tweet by Maggie Throup MP, Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State for Vaccines and Public Health, which encouraged people to get vaccinated as infections rise.

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