According to the government, all adults over the age of 50 in the UK have now been offered a first dose of a coronavirus vaccine.
The Prime Minister has welcomed another “extremely significant milestone” in the program to protect the country from Covid-19.
Vaccinating everyone over the age of 50 means the government has achieved its goal of stinging all nine priority groups, including the clinically vulnerable and health and social workers, three days ahead of the April 15 target date.
The Joint Vaccines and Vaccination Committee (JCVI) will shortly present its final recommendations for completing the program, which are expected to begin this week with those in their late 40s, reports PA.
Meanwhile, Ireland is the next country to restrict the use of the AstraZeneca vaccine. It should not be given to anyone under the age of 60 as there are concerns about its possible association with rare blood clotting events.
In the UK, it is recommended not to give it to anyone under the age of 30.
Overall, the government announced that nearly 40 million doses of the Pfizer and AstraZeneca vaccines have been delivered since the UK launch in December, including 32 million first bursts and more than seven million second doses.
In a statement, Boris Johnson said they had stayed on track to offer a first push to all adults in the UK by the end of July.
“We have now reached another major milestone in our vaccination program by offering shocks to everyone in the nine highest risk groups,” he said.
“This means that more than 32 million people have received the valuable protective vaccines against Covid 19.
“I would like to thank everyone who helped introduce the vaccine that has saved many thousands of lives.
“We will now complete the essential second doses and make progress towards our goal of offering a vaccine to all adults by the end of July.”
Sir Simon Stevens, CEO of NHS England, said 19 out of 20 people over 50 have now received a first push.
“Thanks to our NHS nurses, doctors, pharmacists, operations managers and thousands of other staff and volunteers, the NHS Covid vaccination program is without a doubt the most successful in our history,” he said.
“It’s one of our tickets to this pandemic and offers real hope for the future.”
The announcement comes despite an earlier warning from the NHS in England of a “significant reduction in weekly supply” in April, which means that quantities for the first doses would be “severely restricted”.
As of the current month, healthcare gave priority to the second dose of Pfizer and AstraZeneca vaccines, with 475,230 people receiving their second bump on Saturday.
Chris Hopson, executive director of NHS Provider, which represents NHS trusts, said it was an “incredible accomplishment”.
“Although our vaccination program is still a long way off, we welcome the progress that has been made. The shocks are due to be introduced in those over 40 this week and all priority groups are now offering a first dose,” he said.
“We urge everyone to take their Covid-19 vaccine if they are offered one.
“We owe great thanks to the NHS frontline staff and volunteers, as well as the health leaders who undertook this major logistical challenge to keep us safe from the virus.
“When we return to pub gardens and sports and non-essential businesses, we must continue doing everything we can to keep the infection from spreading and to ensure this lockdown is the last.”