England vaccine target moved forward – as AstraZeneca jab reconsidered for young

The government is considering whether to speed up the vaccine rollout so all adults in England are vaccinated by July 19 (Image: Daily Mirror/Andy Stenning)

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The government is bringing forward its target for vaccinating all adults in England by two weeks.

At present, all over-18s in England are due to have their first dose of a Covid jab by July 31, but with warnings of a third wave looming ahead, the new target will now be July 19.

Meanwhile, all over-40s in England will also be offered a second dose by July 19 at the latest.

To achieve this, all over-40s will be offered their second dose eight weeks after their first – not 12 weeks, as is the case now.

The new date coincides with stage four of government's lifting of lockdown restrictions.

The fourth and last step to ending lockdown had been set for June 21, but today Prime Minister Boris Johnson announced a four-week delay due to the risk of transmission posed by new variants.

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The current target is for July 31 but the government may seek to bring it forward to ensure more people have a second dose earlier on
(Image: Julian Hamilton/Daily Mirror)

It means the much-anticipated and so-called Freedom Day may not happen until July 19.

The delay will allow for more people to have the second dose of the Covid jab, as the country has seen a spike in the number of cases of the Delta variant, first detected in India.

Meanwhile, administering the AstraZeneca vaccine to people under 40 is being reconsidered after it was banned for younger people.

The new rollout target is expected to coincide with the new date for Freedom Day
(Image: Daily Mirror/Andy Stenning)

It is currently limited to over-40s due to a small risk of blood clots – but as Covid cases rise, the benefits of getting the jab will be more likely to outweigh any risks.

Figures showed a total of more than 60 million Covid-19 vaccinations took place in England between December 8 and June 13.

NHS England said more than 34 million were first doses and more than 25 million were a second dose.

Dr Emily Lawson, NHS England lead for the vaccination programme, said: "Hitting 60 million vaccinations is an incredible achievement for the NHS Covid vaccination programme, thanks to the non-stop efforts of NHS staff and volunteers, whose actions to protect their patients and communities have quite simply saved thousands of lives.

"The biggest vaccination drive in history, fastest in Europe and most precise in the world has entered the home straight as we last week opened up bookings to people aged 25 to 29, and it was fantastic to see the offer was received with record-breaking levels of enthusiasm.

"The Covid-19 vaccine remains our best defence against coronavirus, so when you get invited book your lifesaving jab and also, crucially, your second dose to maximise protection."

No10 said people in their 40s will be contacted to change their appointment date for their second dose, so they do not need to contact the NHS or their GP themselves.

These changes should mean two-thirds of adults have been offered both doses by July 19.

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