The UK is moving into the next phase of the COVID-19 vaccination programme as the government hits its target to offer everybody in phase 1 of the vaccination programme a jab.
Everybody in cohorts 1 to 9 – those aged 50 and over, the clinically vulnerable and health and social care workers – has been offered a vaccine, meeting the government’s 15 April target ahead of time.
This group accounts for 99% of all COVID-19 deaths during the pandemic, so by offering them the vaccine, we are helping ensure the most vulnerable are protected from the virus.
The significant milestone marks the beginning of phase 2 of the vaccination programme and people aged 45 to 49 in England can now book appointments through the NHS booking service.
The Joint Committee on Vaccination and Immunisation (JCVI) has published its final advice on phase 2 today, which the government has accepted.
In line with the JCVI advice, eligible people will be invited to receive their vaccines in order of age over the coming weeks and months.
Health Secretary Matt Hancock said: “I’m delighted that across the UK, we’ve met our target to offer a vaccine to everyone in the top 9 priority groups, ahead of the deadline of 15 of April. We’ve now delivered a first dose to over 32 million people, and are on track to offer a vaccine to all adults by the end of July.”
In England, around 95% of people aged 50 and over have received a first dose, while 92% of people who are clinically extremely vulnerable to COVID-19 have also received a vaccine.
The NHS will continue to offer vaccines to people in cohorts 1 to 9 who have not yet come forward and will be offering people their second doses within 12 weeks in line with the guidance from the JCVI.