Under-50s to be called for vaccines as Moderna jab arrives in England
- Credit: Copyright: Archant 2020
All adults in the UK aged over 50 have been offered their first dose of a coronavirus vaccine- while in Norfolk and Waveney, around 88pc of over-50s have already received their first dose.
It comes ahead of NHS patients in England being offered the Moderna Covid-19 vaccine from Tuesday, April 13
It is the third jab to be added to the NHS armoury, alongside those from Oxford/AstraZeneca and Pfizer.
Prime minister Boris Johnson has hailed the news as another "hugely significant milestone" in the programme to protect the country against the disease.
It also means the government has met its target of offering the jab to all of its top nine priority groups, including the clinically vulnerable and health and social care workers, three days ahead of its target date of April 15.
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The Joint Committee on Vaccine and Immunisation will shortly set out its final advice for the completion of the programme, expected to begin this week with those in their late 40s.
Almost 40 million doses of the Pfizer and AstraZeneca vaccines have been delivered since the rollout began in the UK in December, including 32 million first jabs and more than seven million second doses.
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In his statement, Mr Johnson said that they remained on course to offer a first jab to all adults in the UK by the end of July.
"We have now passed another hugely significant milestone in our vaccine programme.
"I want to thank everyone involved in the vaccine rollout which has already saved many thousands of lives."
NHS England chief executive Sir Simon Stevens added that 19 out of 20 over 50s had now received a first jab, and he also thanked those involved with its rollout.
He said: "Thanks to our NHS nurses, doctors, pharmacists, operational managers and thousands of other staff and volunteers, the NHS Covid vaccination programme is without a doubt the most successful in our history.
"It's one of our tickets out of this pandemic and offers real hope for the future."
The announcement comes despite an earlier warning by the NHS in England of a "significant reduction in weekly supply" during April, meaning volumes for first doses would be "significantly constrained".
Throughout the current month, the health service has prioritised second doses of the Pfizer and AstraZeneca vaccines with a record 475,230 people receiving their second jab on Saturday, April 10.
The Vaccines Taskforce has now also secured 17 million doses of the Moderna vaccine for the UK.
It has already been rolled out in Wales and Scotland, and the vaccine is expected to be delivered to people in Northern Ireland in the coming weeks.
The NHS in England confirmed that the Moderna jab will be delivered at more than 20 vaccination sites this week.
Elle Taylor, a 24-year-old carer from Wales, became the first person in the UK to receive the jab last week. The Ammanford resident got the jab at the West Wales General Hospital in Carmarthen on April 7.
Almost 40 million vaccines have been delivered across the UK. This includes more than 32 million first doses and 7.6 million second doses.
Regulators in the UK recommended that people aged 18 to 29 should be offered alternatives to the AstraZeneca vaccine, saying there was a possible link between the jab and "extremely rare" blood clots.
This means that they could be offered the Pfizer or Moderna jab.
Chris Hopson, chief executive of NHS Providers, which represents NHS Trusts, said it was still important to prevent the spread of the disease following the "incredible achievement" of the vaccination programme.
"As we return to pub gardens and sports activities and make our way back to non-essential shops, we must continue to do all that we can to prevent the spread of infection and ensure this lockdown will be the last."