Approximately 95% of those aged over 50 in England have had at least one dose of a COVID-19 vaccination, data from NHS England shows.
Take-up among those aged 45-49 is at 59% after they started being offered the jab earlier this month. This comes as figures show that coronavirus was not the leading cause of death in England and Wales in March, for the first time since October. However, concern has been raised that uptake among care home staff is still around 80% despite attempts to get more to come forward.
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‘I'm delighted that the percentage of over-50s vaccinated has hit 95% in England. We're on track to offer a vaccine to all adults by the end of July. The vaccine is safe & effective, so when it's your turn, come forward & get the jab,’ said Matt Hancock, Health and Social Care Secretary.
Recent studies have suggested that the vaccines are highly effective in reducing the risk of becoming infected with coronavirus. The Office for National Statistics (ONS) and University of Oxford research also found a strong antibody response in all age groups from either jab with everybody showing some response to both vaccines. Three weeks after a jab, given between December 2020 and early April 2021, infections with symptoms fell by 74%, while infections with no reported symptoms fell by 57%.
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‘The protection from new infections gained from a single dose supports the decision to extend the time between first and second doses to 12 weeks to maximise initial vaccination coverage, and reduce hospitalisations and deaths,’ said Dr Koen Pouwels, senior researcher in University of Oxford's Nuffield Department of Population Health.