The UK vaccine rollout is continuing to press on at speed, as people aged 56-59 receive invitations for their first injection.
As part of the next phase of the rollout, which will target all over 50s, individuals aged 56 and over will receive an invitation this week. The government is hoping to vaccinate everyone over 50 by the middle of April. The second phase was launched following the completion of the first stage, which covered all over 70s, health and social care workers and those who are clinically extremely vulnerable from other age groups.
The latest statistics show that 80% of 65-69-year-olds in England took up the invitation. More than a third of the UK adult population has now been vaccinated with a first dose. The target is to vaccinate all adults by the end of July.
On Sunday 8th March, over 21.4 million people had received their first vaccine and more than a million people had been provided with both doses.
NHS England national medical director for primary care, Dr Nikki Kanani, praised the hard work of staff, crediting the endeavours of teams planning the rollout and administering vaccines with the swift progression of the scheme across the UK. Vaccinators are now ready to move on to the next priority age group, patients aged between 56 and 59. Once this phase has been completed, over 50s will be invited to book an appointment followed by over 40s and then over 30s and finally, 18-29-year-olds.
The health secretary, Matt Hancock, confirmed that the government was currently on track to meet the target of vaccinating all adults who want to receive a vaccine by July 31st 2021.
News of the continued success of the rollout comes after data from the Office for National Statistics (ONS) showed that the lockdown has been successful in getting the spread of the virus under control. Despite the positive news, experts warned against complacency, urging the public to continue to follow the rules as lockdown easing looms.