Health Secretary Matt Hancock has urged any adults over the age of 60 to come forward and be vaccinated after more than 20 million people have now received the first dosage of the coronavirus jab.
The government is aiming to have all 32million people who fall into the top-nine priority categories vaccinated by April 15, before setting their sights on vaccinating everyone over the age of 18 by late July.
Matt Hancock said: "We are now inviting the over 60s to be vaccinated as part of our national effort to ensure every adult is offered the vaccine by the end of July, when the call comes, get the jab."
Everyone over the age of 60 are currently invited to receive the jab, before the roll-out schedule moves on to the over-50s and the most vulnerable, the Joint Committee on Vaccination and Immunisation (JCVI) has announced. Once the most vulnerable have been vaccinated, everyone aged between 40-49 will be offered the jab.
By March 3, 20,703,615 first doses have been administered in the UK, while 895,412 people have received their second dose and are fully vaccinated.
Though there was some speculation surrounding the effectiveness of the Oxford/AstraZeneca vaccine in certain age brackets, the World Health Organisation has recommended the jab for the over-65s, claiming that the benefits outweigh the risks.
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100 million Oxford jabs have been ordered by the government, with 40 million due to be rolled out by this month. The Medicines and Healthcare products Regulatory Agency also approved the Moderna vaccine for use on Jan 8, though that is not likely to be in circulation until well into springtime.
Who will receive the vaccine first?
Prof Stephen Powis, the National Medical Director of NHS England, described the vaccine roll-out effort as "two sprints and a marathon".
The first phase was to vaccinate the top four most vulnerable/at risk groups, of which the Department for Health and Social Care said had accounted for 88% of Covid-19 deaths so far.
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These groups were made up of everyone aged 70 and over, care home residents, healthcare workers and people required to shield. The government achieved its target of offering everyone in those four groups a vaccine by February 14, meaning 15 million people had now had their first dosage.
The next step is to vaccinate the remaining priority groups before April 15, this includes all those aged 60 and over, a total of 2.9 million people – (group five) – they are next in the vaccine queue, as well as everyone aged 16 to 64 with underlying health conditions that increase the risk of disease and mortality from Covid-19 (group six).
The group designated for 16-64 year olds with underlying health conditions contains seven million people, including those with heart conditions, diabetes and severe mental health issues.
According to recent data- by February 21, around 20% of people aged 16 to 69 had already received their first jab, which equates to one in five adults in England aged under 70.
Will I be contacted when it is my turn to receive the vaccine?
The NHS will contact everyone as soon as they are individually eligible to receive the vaccine, allowing them to schedule an appointment at a local vaccine centre.
If you are registered to a GP, you will be contacted by your surgery either over the phone, by text, email or post, in order to book a timeslot.
Anyone over the age of 70 who has not yet been vaccinated should contact their GP immediately.
In a bid to vaccinate as many people as quickly as possible, Matt Hancock has said there will be “three modes of delivery”, when it comes to vaccine distribution, with hospitals and mass vaccination centres as well as pharmacists and GP's all helping to offer the jab.
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