People aged 70 and over and the clinically extremely vulnerable have begun receiving invitations for vaccinations.
The move will allow the NHS to further accelerate vaccinations of people most at risk, though the priority remains to vaccinate top 2 cohorts first, while over 3.8 million people have received their first vaccine dose in the UK.
‘Today is a significant milestone in our vaccination programme as we open it up to millions more people who are most at risk from COVID-19,’ said Prime Minister Boris Johnson.
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‘We are now delivering the vaccine at a rate of 140 jabs a minute and I want to thank everyone involved in this national effort. We have a long way to go and there will doubtless be challenges ahead – but by working together we are making huge progress in our fight against this virus.’
The announcement will allow areas that have already vaccinated the majority of care home residents, frontline health and care staff and people aged 80 and over to keep up the momentum and start vaccinating further at-risk people, helping the NHS to reach the Prime Minister’s commitment of offering vaccinations to the first 4 priority groups by the middle of February.
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‘Now that more than half of all over-80s have had their jab, we can begin vaccinating the next most vulnerable groups. Where an area has already reached the vast majority of groups 1 to 2, they can now start opening up the programme to groups 3 to 4,’ said Health and Social Care Secretary Matt Hancock.
‘We are working day and night to make sure everyone who is 70 and over, our health and social care workers and the clinically extremely vulnerable are offered the vaccine by the middle of February and our NHS heroes are making huge strides in making this happen.’