Matt Hancock reveals all those eligible can request vaccine
During a briefing today, the Health Secretary announced the policy is changing for those over the age of 70 to make sure no one falls through the cracks in the push to quickly vaccinate as many people as possible.
He said: “Thanks to the huge efforts of the NHS, volunteers and local authorities we have vaccinated an incredible 12 million vulnerable people so far – including around nine in 10 of all over-70s.
“We are on track to meet our goal of offering everyone in the top four priority groups a jab.
“So far we have said ‘please wait until the NHS contacts you’. I now urge everyone aged 70 and over who hasn’t yet had a vaccination to come forward and contact the NHS to book in their jab.
“And if you have grandparents, relatives and friends over 70, please encourage them to book an appointment as soon as possible, so they can be protected against this awful virus.
Over 70s to receive vaccine as Matt Hancock changes advice
Boris Johnson with the AstraZeneca vaccine
“Vaccines are the way out of this pandemic and, by ensuring you and your loved ones get booked in for a jab, the NHS can give those most at-risk the protection they need as we continue to fight this disease together.”
It comes as more than 12,806,587 jabs of the coronavirus vaccine have been given to people across the UK so far.
This is a rise of 278,988 on the previous day.
Some 512,581 were second doses, an increase of 862 on figures released the previous day.
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Vaccine roll out across the NHS
Dr Nikki Kanani, medical director for primary care at NHS England and a practising GP, also urged people aged 70 and over to make sure they have their vaccine.
The GP said: “The NHS vaccination programme, the biggest in health service history, is off to a strong start with every eligible care home receiving a visit and millions more people being vaccinated at one of over 1,500 centres across the country thanks to the tireless efforts of my colleagues.
“But if you are aged 70 and over, and haven’t yet received your vaccine, please come forward and make an appointment as soon as you can.
“The vaccine is safe, simple, and will offer you and those around you crucial protection against this virus.”
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Coronavirus cases across the UK
On Monday, the UK reported coronavirus cases has plunged to below 15,000 for the first time in weeks.
Today, there were 14,104 cases recorded according to the latest Government figures, marking the lowest number of cases since December 8.
These latest figures bring the total number of cases to 3,959,784.
A total of 333 people were also reported to have died after 28 days of testing positive of the virus.
Vaccines minister Nadhim Zahawi
Last week, Downing Street confirmed all adults aged 50 and over should be offered a vaccine by May.
The Government is aiming to vaccinate 15 million people by next week and based on the latest figures, an average of 386,571 first doses of vaccine would be needed each day to meet the target.
However, Mr Hancock said a lot of things would “have to go right” to hit the May target for all over-50s.
He said the supply was the “most difficult” limiting factor in the rollout.
Health Secretary Matt Hancock
The Health Secretary also said it was “still too early to say” when restrictions could be lifted and warned the NHS was still under pressure.
In a Twitter video, Boris Johnson said on February 22 he would “set out the beginnings of our roadmap for a way forward for the whole country as the vaccine programme intensifies and, as more and more people acquire immunity, a steady programme for beginning to unlock”.
However, he warned it was still “early days” and rates of infection in the country were “still very high”.