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The NHS COVID Vaccination Programme has jabbed more than half of people in their thirties in just over a fortnight, new figures have revealed.
More than five million appointments have been made and 53% of people aged 30-39 have received at least one dose since the programme, the biggest in NHS history, began opening up to the age group on May 13.
The surge in bookings for a lifesaving COVID jab comes as the country’s top doctor urged people not to put off getting their second dose and fully vaccinated.
Earlier this month, on the advice of the Government and JCVI, the NHS started contacting people aged 50 and over and those who are clinically vulnerable asking them to bring forward their second dose of the vaccine to counter the spread of the B1.617.2 variant, which was first found in India.
So far of the first 600,000 people to have been invited to rearrange their second jab through the National Booking Service and around a quarter have moved their appointment forward.
NHS chief executive, Sir Simon Stevens, said: “The NHS vaccination programme, the biggest in health service history, fastest in Europe and most precise in the world, has continued at pace as this week it opened up to everyone in their thirties.
“It is remarkable that, in little over two weeks, the NHS has vaccinated more than half of those in their thirties. This success is no happy accident but the result of months of careful planning and the sheer hard work and dedication of NHS staff.
“The COVID-19 vaccine is our most effective weapon against coronavirus and the best way of protecting yourself and loved ones, so if you do one thing this bank holiday weekend, book your lifesaving jab and crucially if you’re contacted by the NHS to do so, bring forward your second dose of vital protection.”
Those aged 30 and 31 were the latest age groups to be invited for their jab, with more than three quarters of a million appointments made through the National Booking Service within 72 hours.
More than half of 30-39 year olds have already received their first dose, and around three quarters of people aged 50 and over have now been fully vaccinated.
The NHS made history when Maggie Keenan became the first person in the world to be protected against coronavirus outside of a clinical trial when she received the Pfizer vaccine at Coventry Hospital on 8 December 2020.
Since then more than 32 million people have been vaccinated with a first dose in England, almost three quarters of the total adult population and well over 20 million people have had both doses.
The Government and the JCVI announced on Friday 14 May that second dose appointments will be brought forward from 12 to 8 weeks for those aged 50 and over and those who are clinically vulnerable who have yet to receive theirs.
People who should have their second dose brought forward do not need to contact the NHS. The NHS will let them know when they can rebook with NHS staff standing up thousands of additional appointments.
People who cannot go online can call the service on 119 for extra support in doing so.
Vaccinations are being administered at more than 1,600 sites across the country, including mosques, museums and rugby grounds, meaning the vast majority of the people live within 10 miles of at least one vaccination service.
People invited through the National Booking Service are offered a choice of appointments at NHS Vaccination Centres or pharmacy-led vaccination services, as well as some GP-led sites.
Text invitations appear as an alert from ‘NHSvaccine’, including a web link to the NHS website to reserve an appointment.