Covid-19 jab bookings top one million in two days

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ore than one million Covid-19 jabs were booked in just two days after the NHS opened its vaccination programme to all remaining adults in England.

A total of 1,008,472 appointments were arranged over Friday and Saturday through the booking service, NHS England said – an average of more than 21,000 every hour, or six every second.

The full figure is likely to be higher as it does not include appointments at local GP-led vaccination services or people getting the jab at walk-in centres.

Coronavirus / PA Wire

The NHS has now administered around 62 million doses since Margaret Keenan became the first member of the public to get a jab on December 8.

Four in five adults have now received their first vaccination, according to NHS England figures – with three in five having both.

Public Health England’s Covid-19 director Dr Susan Hopkins said on Sunday she hoped all people over 40 could get their vaccine before the full easing of lockdown restrictions planned for July 19.

NHS England chief executive Sir Simon Stevens said: “It is fantastic to see so many young people coming forward to play their part, protecting themselves, their friends and their family – nearly nine million people in their twenties and thirties have now had their first dose.”

Coronavirus / PA Wire

Health Secretary Matt Hancock said: “It is superb to see the continued enthusiasm young people are showing for vaccines across the country.”

He added: “It is vital we build on this momentum for second doses so people have the fullest protection possible.”

Mr Hancock said he he was “delighted” after Snapchat, Reddit, TikTok, and YouTube partnered with the Government and NHS in a bid to encourage more young people to get vaccinated.

Hundreds of people formed long queues at Tottenham Hotspur’s stadium in London on Sunday, after similar pop-up centres opened at the Olympic Stadium, Stamford Bridge, Charlton Athletic FC, Selhurst Park and Crystal Palace Athletics Centre on “Super Saturday”.

HEALTH Coronavirus / PA Graphics

Boris Johnson had slated Monday for the end of all legal coronavirus restrictions in his road map to ease England’s lockdown, but has delayed until July 19 because of concerns over the rapidly-spreading Delta variant.

A minor relaxation will take place instead to remove the 30-person cap for weddings, with venues instead asked to limit numbers based on space required to enforce social distancing measures.

Meanwhile, the Prime Minister will be weary of his former top aide Dominic Cummings releasing further criticism of the handling of the pandemic when he holds a question and answer session with online subscribers.

Mr Johnson was also coming under pressure over border restrictions from backbench Conservative MPs as the Times reported that fewer than one in 200 travellers from amber list countries are testing positive.

Sir Graham Brady the chairman of the 1922 Committee of Tory MPs, said: “It’s time British people were able to reap the benefits of the vaccines and for us to get the travel industry moving.”

On Sunday, Professor Calum Semple, who advises the Government as part of the Scientific Advisory Group for Emergencies (Sage), warned that a wave of respiratory illnesses could cause a “pretty miserable winter”.

Dr Hopkins also warned of a possible rise in cases at the end of the year, adding that further lockdowns may be required if hospitals “start to become overwhelmed”.

“But I think we will have alternative ways to manage this, through vaccination, through anti-virals, through drugs, through testing that we didn’t have last winter,” she added.

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