People aged 65-69 in England can be invited for Covid vaccine | World news

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GPs and other vaccinators can now give coronavirus vaccinations to people aged between 65 and 69 in England if they have done all they can to reach older and clinically vulnerable people in higher priority groups.

NHS England has quietly indicated that regions could be given permission to move on to group five, although the formal target to offer a vaccine to everybody in groups one to four by Monday 15 February remains in place.

“We have been told by NHS England that, in exceptional circumstances, where we have reached other groups, we can move on to cohort five [65-69-year-olds],” said one GP who asked not to be identified.

Doctors in Coventry, in the Midlands, and Hackney, east London, have been given the go-ahead to turn to the younger age group, the Guardian understands, while the PA Media news agency said several others were in a similar position.

It reported that Nottinghamshire Clinical Commissioning Group is among those that has invited over-65s to receive a vaccine, while in Shropshire, Coventry, York and Hampshire some vaccines have been given already.

Earlier this week, some places were complaining that they had run out of patients in the top four groups to vaccinate. Doctors at the Francis Crick Institute in central London said they could only vaccinate 100 people a day when they had capacity for 1,000.

Prioritisation has been sent by the Joint Committee on Vaccination and Immunisation (JCVI). The top four groups comprise everybody aged over 70, the clinically extremely vulnerable, plus NHS and care home workers, about 15 million people across the UK – and the NHS is within touching distance of achieving a target set by Boris Johnson to offer all those cohorts a vaccine by Monday.

The latest figures show that as of Wednesday, 13.5 million people around the UK had received a initial dose of either the Pfizer/BioNTech or Oxford/AstraZeneca vaccines, amounting to about 20% of the total population.

However, there is a growing expectation that the supply of vaccines will be reduced from next week as Pfizer slows production while it reconfigures its manufacturing plant in Belgium. Supply is expected to pick up again around the beginning of March, but the pace of first jabs, running at between 2.5m and nearly 3m a week, is likely to ease during February.

Earlier on Friday, Mark Drakeford, the Welsh first minister, said Wales would be the first nation in the UK to have offered a first jab to the top four priority groups. He said Wales would turn to offering jabs to people over 50 as well as those with underlying health conditions.

A total of 715,000 people have had the first dose of the vaccine in Wales. “I am incredibly proud to say we have achieved the first milestone in our vaccination strategy. This means we have offered vaccination to everyone in the first four priority groups,” Drakeford said.

The Labour politician told BBC Breakfast that while there would be a dip in supply over the next fortnight, Wales was still on track to complete the vaccination of the next five priority groups by the spring.

In Scotland, the first minister, Nicola Sturgeon, has said she expects many in the 65-69 age group to have had their first vaccine by the middle of this month.

Meanwhile, in Northern Ireland, people aged 65-69 have been able to book a Covid-19 vaccine at seven regional centres since the end of January.

Hafta Ichi
Source: The Guardian
Keyword: People aged 65-69 in England can be invited for Covid vaccine | World news

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