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Covid vaccines 'for over-30s by April' as surge of 10 million extra jabs available from next week'

OVER-30s will receive Covid jabs by April as a surge of 10 million extra doses become available from next week.

There is to be a "rapid increase" in the number of people getting vaccinated after a "dip" at the end of February.

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Vaccines Minister Nadhim Zahawi has said there will be a "big uplift" in supply in the coming weeks.

He said that the ultimate aim was to get 95 per cent of British adults vaccinated and the offer of a jab was "evergreen" for people who had not yet accepted their invitation.

So far 24,064,182 jabs have been given in the UK, including 1.2 million second doses.

Mr Zahawi told the Women and Equalities House of Commons Committee that until now "supply has been finite" but he was "expecting tens of millions of doses to come through".

He added: "In the second half of March you will see a big uplift in supply.

"Up until now supply has been finite. We've had good volumes but when your supply is finite you have to try and make sure that each region gets enough doses to do the cohort target.

"So when we were focused on (priority groups) one to four by the middle of February, we have to make sure that each region have that vaccine available to them.

"Now obviously as we see more – and I'm expecting tens of millions of doses to come through – that becomes a little bit easier which allows us, for example, to double the number of pharmacies that will come online for delivery (from 200 to 400).

"The whole country will see a rapid increase in the number of people getting their first dose and getting protected whilst obviously we do second dosing at the same time."

If supply holds up, over-30s should be on track to get jabs next month.

Wales' First Minister Mark Drakeford reiterated the claims, saying the recent slump in supply was now over.

He told the i: "We are confident that we are past the couple of weeks where there was a dip in supply and we will be getting significantly greater volumes during the month of March."

He added that "the next few weeks are crucial" in ensuring enough people receive their first dose, as well as administering a second dose to those who had their first 12 weeks ago.

NHS England told local trusts that supplies will accelerate significantly, with England set to administer four million vaccines a week.

Scotland’s First Minister Nicola Sturgeon has said that the supply boost "will allow for a very significant acceleration in the vaccination programme".

Wales has been able to move more quickly than other parts of the UK by mobilising dentists, optometrists and community pharmacists, Mr Drakeford said.

The number of people to die with Covid in the UK has dropped again as another 190 casualties were recorded.

Fatalities are down 81 per cent on the number recorded this time last month, when 1,001 more deaths were reported.

Meanwhile, a further 5,926 people tested positive overnight – a drop of 54 per cent on February 10, when 13,013 people were newly-diagnosed.

The figures are also lower than this time last week, when 6,385 new infections and 315 deaths were recorded.

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