Covid jabs to be offered to 44-year-olds in England from Monday | Coronavirus

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Coronavirus vaccines will soon be offered to the next priority group, with 44-year-olds able to get a jab in England from Monday and all those over 40 likely to follow within days.

About half a million more people will be eligible to book an appointment online or by ringing 119, as the chief executive of NHS England, Sir Simon Stevens, hailed the passing of “another medically important milestone in the biggest vaccination campaign” in the country’s history.

He revealed that over two-thirds of 45-to-49-year-olds had received a vaccine so far, and urged younger people to come forward when they were offered a jab because it is “the best protection you and your loved ones will receive from this deadly virus”. Uptake has been higher among the over-50s, 95% of whom have already had their first jab.

NHS England said it would make a decision on extending the rollout to people aged 40-43 “in the coming days”, as it waits for the latest advice from the Joint Committee on Vaccination and Immunisation (JCVI).

The Sunday Times reported that the JCVI is still deciding whether the AstraZeneca vaccine should be offered to people in their 30s – given its recommendation earlier this month that healthy adults under 30 who are not at high risk should have the option of a different jab if one is available in their area, in light of concerns over rare blood clots.

NHS England’s medical director, Prof Stephen Powis, praised the “hard work of NHS staff” for helping the vaccine rollout progress to the next age group, and said the jab was “simple, effective and provides vital protection against the coronavirus”.

Matt Hancock, the health secretary, added: “It will protect you and your loved ones, and help put this pandemic behind us.”

The news came as ministers launched a new drive to encourage younger people to get vaccinated, given fears of a fall in take-up because of the diminished risk of death from Covid-19 among those from lower age groups.

'Protect yourself and others': UK government launches vaccination advert – video
‘Protect yourself and others’: UK government launches vaccination advert – video

After the Guardian revealed last month that the government was worried that the drop-off could be “stark”, the Department of Health released a new series of pictures capturing life across a series of vaccine centres. Alice Tooley, 25, a volunteer for a refugee charity in Leeds who features in one of the images, said: “As younger people my age get called for theirs, I hope they jump at it the way I did, so, as a collective, we all play our part in getting back to a more normal way of life.”

TV adverts will also start airing from Monday showcasing the “collective effort of everyone who has played a part” in the vaccine rollout, from scientists and clinical trial participants to NHS and care sector staff and volunteer stewards at vaccination sites.

Meanwhile, in Northern Ireland, vaccines will be offered to the over-35s from Monday. The health minister, Robin Swann, said: “Vaccination is absolutely vital in helping us move through this pandemic. There is no doubt that there are people in Northern Ireland alive today because they have been vaccinated.”

Hafta Ichi
Source: The Guardian
Keyword: Covid jabs to be offered to 44-year-olds in England from Monday | Coronavirus

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