The NHS COVID-19 Vaccination Programme England has hit another major milestone by delivering 70 million doses of the life-saving COVID jab.
Since offering the first dose anywhere in the world outside of clinical trials in December, the health service has averaged almost 10 million doses given each month.
The largest vaccination programme in NHS history continues, with more than 39 million people now having had at least one dose – around nine in 10 of the adult population – and well over 30 million people are now fully vaccinated against COVID after receiving two doses.
While nearly seven in 10 people aged 18 and over are fully protected, health leaders are urging anyone yet to get their jab, particularly young people, to come forward this weekend and take up the offer to protect themselves, their friends and family.
Over 600,000 people were jabbed last weekend as part of the NHS ‘Grab a jab’ campaign thanks to staff who stood up pop-up clinics and walk-in vaccination centres across the country, with sites still available this weekend and people able to continue to book through the National Booking Service (NBS).
One in eight first doses were administered to over 40s, showing people of all ages are still keen to get their jab with the offer of the vaccine evergreen.
NHS teams also continue to focus on second doses, which give the maximum protection possible, and saw a surge between last Friday and Saturday, with 15% more people getting their second dose compared with the weekend before.
People were able to get jabbed at pop-up sites in London’s Tate Modern or Greenwich Park, a Primark in Bristol, and the British Open in Sandwich, Kent.
GP, NHS medical director for primary care, and deputy senior responsible officer for the vaccine programme, Dr Nikki Kanani, said: “The NHS has delivered 70 million doses across England in just over seven months, giving protection against coronavirus to more than 39 million people and saving thousands of lives from this deadly disease.
“This milestone could not have been achieved without the tireless efforts of NHS staff and volunteers up and down the country, working day in and day out to deliver the biggest vaccination drive in health service history.
“Although almost seven in 10 adults are now fully vaccinated, as we see a rise in COVID cases in the community once again, there has never been a more important time to get yourself protected: it remains the best way to protect yourself, your friends and your family, so particularly young people who are yet to come forward, this is the single most important thing you can do this weekend.”
Everyone aged 18 or over is now eligible for a lifesaving COVID-19 jab and the NHS is urging people to come forward as soon as possible.
The NHS in England made history when Margaret Keenan received the first jab outside of a clinical trial in Coventry, in December 2020.
Since then the NHS Vaccination Programme, the biggest in health service history, fastest in Europe and most precise in the world, has jabbed over 39 million people across the country – more than 85% of all adults.
The NHS continues to send text messages to adults to remind them to bring forward their second jab forward to eight weeks, in line with updated JCVI guidance.
So far two thirds of all adults have had both doses and are fully vaccinated against coronavirus.
People who attended a walk-in clinic for their first dose will have their vaccination record updated online and will then be able to book in their second dose appointment using the national booking system.
Anybody who cannot go online can call the service on 119 instead to book their jab.