UK expands COVID-19 vaccination drive to cover all over-65s

UK expands COVID-19 vaccination drive to cover all over-65s

London: The UK's vaccination programme will officially expand further from Monday as the National Health Service (NHS) invites all over-65s and clinically vulnerable groups to receive their jabs to protect against COVID-19.

So far, more than 14.5 million people in the designated top four priority groups of over-70s and frontline health and care workers have been protected by at least one of the two-dose Pfizer/BioNTech and Oxford/AstraZeneca vaccines.

NHS England said on Sunday that millions of letters asking people from the next set of priority groups to book their jabs at any one of over 100 large scale vaccination centres or almost 200 pharmacy services have already been


The vaccination programme is continuing at an unprecedented speed and, as we're on target to offer vaccines to all those in the first four priority groups by Monday, we are determined to keep up the momentum by expanding it even further, said UK Health Secretary Matt Hancock.

The NHS is doing everything it can to offer vaccines to the most vulnerable as quickly as possible, and today's news will mean millions more at-risk individuals will be able to access a jab from next week. We will continue to accelerate the vaccination programme even further, he said.

In the next phase starting Monday, general practitioner (GP) led vaccination sites will focus initially on the clinically vulnerable with long term conditions and requiring continuity of care.

The official advice for anyone aged 65 to 69 wanting to wait to be called by their local GP vaccination service, or have already received the jab, need not respond to the NHS letters to visit a vaccine site.

More High Street pharmacists are also being invited to take part as the programme continues to accelerate.

After a strong start the NHS vaccination programme, the biggest and fastest in Europe, is entering a new phase tomorrow, said Sir Simon Stevens, NHS chief executive.

This is an exciting moment as we now move on to those aged 65 and over and the clinically vulnerable as part of our plan to vaccinate as many people as possible who can benefit from it.

However, if you have already been offered a jab but have not taken it up it is not too late. Please come forward and help us to help you, he said.

The UK's Joint Committee on Vaccination and Immunisation (JCVI), which has created the priority categories for the vaccinations, defines clinically vulnerable people as those with conditions including chronic respiratory disease such as chronic obstructive pulmonary disease, cystic fibrosis, and severe asthma.

Until now, the vaccination programme has been aimed at NHS frontline staff, care home residents and workers, along with over-70s and people deemed clinically extremely vulnerable.

Meanwhile, the devolved regions of the United Kingdom are also largely in line with the NHS England drive.

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