Over 45s offered COVID-19 jab as NHS completes vaccine offer to 32m priority patients

COVID-19 vaccination has been extended to patients aged 45-49 after the government announced it had met a mid-April target of offering jabs to all 32m patients UK-wide in the first nine priority cohorts.

COVID-19 vaccination centre (Photo: Geoff Caddick/Getty Images)
COVID-19 vaccination centre (Photo: Geoff Caddick/Getty Images)

A total of 32,190,576 people across the UK have now received a first dose of COVID-19 vaccine - with 7.7m of these also having had a second dose.

The government estimates that there are 32m people UK-wide in the first nine priority cohorts identified by the Joint Commitee on Vaccination and Immunisation (JCVI) - covering people over 50, health and care workers, and people who are clinically vulnerable.

All people in these groups have now been offered vaccination against COVID-19, the government has announced - meaning its mid-April target for rollout of the vaccine has been met. NHS England chief executive Sir Simon Stevens confirmed that in England, 95% of people in JCVI cohorts 1-9 have now received a first dose.

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The announcement that another major milestone for the UK vaccination programme had been met came as the first doses of the Moderna vaccine - the third approved for use in the UK after Pfizer/BioNTech and AstraZeneca vaccines for COVID-19 - were administered in England.

The vaccine will be used as a priority for patients aged 18-29 in JCVI cohorts 1-9 after advice from UK regulators that the AstraZeneca vaccine should not be the first choice for patients in this age group as investigations into cases of rare blood clots continue.

The government has said its next vaccination goal is to offer a first dose of vaccine to all UK adults by the end of July - and has from today opened vaccination to patients aged 45-49.

Sir Simon Stevens said: 'Vaccinating 19 out of 20 people aged 50 and over is an incredible milestone.

COVID-19 vaccine programme

'Thanks to our NHS nurses, doctors, pharmacists, operational managers and thousands of other staff and volunteers, the NHS COVID-19 vaccination programme is without a doubt the most successful in our history. It's one of our tickets out of this pandemic and offers real hope for the future.'

Health and social care secretary Matt Hancock said: 'Vaccines are safe and effective and have already saved more than 10,000 lives. The vaccine programme has had a significant impact on reducing the pressure on hospitals, helping us to gradually ease restrictions.'

Prime minister Boris Johnson said: 'We have now passed another hugely significant milestone in our vaccine programme by offering jabs to everyone in the nine highest risk groups.

'That means more than 32m people have been given the precious protection vaccines provide against COVID-19.

‘I want to thank everyone involved in the vaccine rollout which has already saved many thousands of lives. We will now move forward with completing essential second doses and making progress towards our target of offering all adults a vaccine by the end of July.’

The JCVI is expected to publish advice shortly on rollout of COVID-19 vaccination to patients aged under 50.

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