Second dose milestone as 2.5 million get top-up jab

The NHS in England has vaccinated more than 25 million people against COVID-19, with the number of people receiving their second dose reaching a new weekly high.

Over 2.5 million people have now received their second jab, with more than one in three of those taking place just in the last week, when more than 900,000 returned to get their next dose, around twice as many as did so the week before.

Focus is now on making sure that absolutely everyone in the most at-risk cohorts has had the chance to be vaccinated, ahead of the target of offering all priority groups their first vaccine by 15 April and when there is tighter supply of available doses next month.

The country’s top GP is today urging those aged 50-69 yet to get their first jab, to come forward.

Three in four 50-54 year olds have now already been jabbed, up from half in the last week.

Dr Nikki Kanani, GP and NHS medical director for primary care, said: “The NHS in England has now vaccinated 25 million people which is an unbelievable achievement by NHS staff across the country, who have continued to work at speed.

“At the same time as increasing second doses week on week, the NHS is reaching out to those 50-69 year-olds who haven’t yet taken up the offer to be vaccinated.

“If you are one of those people yet to book a first dose, please come forward and get your life-saving COVID-19 vaccine which will not only protect you but those around you.”

People are being urged not to forget about having their second dose of the vaccine too, so they can receive as much protection as possible.

Salisbury Cathedral is one of over 1,500 vaccination centres across the country administering jabs, with people able to listen to a specially arranged cathedral organ recital as they get their jab.

The NHS has been inviting those eligible for a jab by letter and text with GPs also calling some patients.

Text invitations appear as an alert from ‘NHSvaccine’ and letters include a web link to click and reserve an appointment at one of more than 300 large-scale vaccination centres or pharmacies across England.

GP teams will continue contacting eligible patients and vaccinating them throughout April with a first dose.

Last week, 24 hours after the chief executive of the NHS, Sir Simon Stevens, received his first dose, the Prime Minister followed suit, both receiving the Oxford/Astra Zeneca vaccine.

More than 25 million people have been vaccinated since the launch of the largest vaccination programme in the history of the NHS last December.

The NHS made history when 90-year-old Maggie Keenan was the first recipient in the world outside a clinical trial of a Pfizer vaccine at Coventry Hospital on 8 December 2020.

Brian Pinker, 82, was the first person to be vaccinated with the Oxford/AstraZeneca coronavirus vaccine on 4 January 2021 by the NHS in Oxford, where the jab was created.