UK's vaccine program expanded to cover everyone over age 30
The UK's health service on Wednesday extended its COVID-19 age-based vaccination program to the next cohort to cover everyone aged over 30. The National Health Service (NHS) said one million more people aged 30 will be invited by text over the coming days, leaving only adults between 18 and 29 yet to get the nod to come forward for their first doses.
People in their thirties to be offered Pfizer or Moderna
People in their thirties will be offered an alternative to the Oxford/AstraZeneca jabs either Pfizer/BioNtech or Moderna following medical advice related to rare blood clot concerns for lower age groups. "Our vaccination program is moving at such a phenomenal pace. In six months, we are able to open vaccination to everyone in their thirties and over," said UK Health Secretary Matt Hancock.
Second dose for people aged over 50 fast tracked
"The vaccine is our way out of this pandemic. Recent data has shown the life-saving protection the second dose of the jab can give, especially against the B1.617.2 variant," Hancock said. On the advice of the government and Joint Committee on Vaccination and Immunization, people aged over 50 and the clinically vulnerable are having their second doses brought forward to counter the B1.617.2 variant.
NHS has requested everyone eligible to get vaccinated
The NHS said it has now delivered almost 32 million first doses of the jab, and well over 19 million adults have had both doses. Everyone eligible for a jab is being urged by the NHS to take up the offer at one of the 1,600 locations across the UK. People can click on the link in their offer text and get a reservation.
Travel into and out of B1.617.2 variant hotspots minimized
The expansion of the program comes as the government continues to monitor the spread of the B1.617.2 variant of concern (VOC) in the country. However, following confusion over travel advice for some of the so-called hotspots of the VOC, the government updated its advice to call for minimizing travel into and out of Bolton, Blackburn, Kirklees, Bedford, Burnley, Leicester, Hounslow, and North Tyneside.
UK reports 2,493 new COVID-19 cases
Talking about the advice issued, Transport Secretary Grant Shapps said, "This is not a lockdown. You can do exactly as you can elsewhere in the country. Additional advice was provided in order to remind people that they happen to be living in areas where the risk of transmission is higher." Meanwhile, the UK reported 15 new coronavirus deaths and 2,493 new confirmed cases.