THREE million people in their 20s will be able to book their coronavirus vaccine from tomorrow, Matt Hancock has announced.
The NHS England Covid vaccine booking site will open to those aged between 25 and 29 from 7am Tuesday.
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The Health Secretary Mr Hancock told MPs in the House of Commons this afternoon: “I'm delighted to be able to tell the House that from this week we will start offering vaccinations to people under 30, bringing us ever closer to the goal of offering a vaccine to all adults in the UK by the end of next month.
"From tomorrow morning, we will open up vaccination to people aged 25 to 29.
"Over the remainder of this week, the NHS will send texts to people in this age groups, and of course GPs will be inviting people on their lists to come forward.”
The NHS hailed the “home straight” of the biggest vaccination programme in its history.
It comes less than two weeks after those aged 30 and over became eligble as the jabbing campaign speeds ahead.
Nearly 77 per cent of adults in the UK have now had their initial shot and more than half (52.5 per cent) have had two.
Meanwhile, Wales is on track to offer every adult aged over 18 a Covid jab by next Monday.
First Minister Mark Drakeford has also pledged to get everyone double-jabbed by September.
In other coronavirus news:
- Brits are set to find out next Monday if June 21 "Freedom Day" will be delayed to July 5
- The rise in Covid case is "marks start of third wave", an ex-Government adviser has warned
- Shocking maps show just how rapidly the Indian variant has spread within two weeks
Under-30s are the final cohort on the vaccine priority list, with a decision on whether to jab children under consideration by the JCVI.
Mr Hancock said he will "listen to clinical advice" from the JCVI on vaccinating 12 to 17 year olds.
The last phase of the rollout comes just six months since those in their 90s were invited in December 2020.
Maggie Keenan, 90, was the first person in the world to receive an approved jab outside of clinical trials.
The occasion on December 8 marked the start of Britain’s path to normality.
Vaccines Minister, Minister Zahawi said: “This is yet another incredible step forward in our journey back to normality.
"With our recently announced dating apps partnership, we are leaving no stone unturned when it comes to encouraging people to take up the vaccine.
“When you get the offer, get the jab – it could save your life and protect your loved ones.”
But the UK is facing fresh fear over a third Covid wave affecting young people who have not been jabbed, fuelled by the Delta (Indian) variant.
Mr Hancock said the Delta variant "has made the race between the virus and this vaccination effort tighter".
Infection rates have risen in three in four areas across Britain, and nationally, weekly case rates are up 49 per cent on the previous seven days.
It threatens to derail the June 21 lockdown lifting – but there is hope the vaccines will suppress hospitalisations.
Hospitalisations have remained steady, with only a very slight uptick, suggesting the vaccines are working at keeping a deadly third wave at bay.
If numbers remain low, it further strengthens calls for unlocking on June 21.
Mr Hancock said hospitalisations still appear to be in people who are unvaccinated.
He said: "As of the 3rd June, our data show that of the 12,383 cases of the Delta variant, 464 went on to present to emergency care, and 126 people were admitted to hospital.
"Of these 126 people, 83 were unvaccinated, 28 had received one dose, and just three had received both doses of vaccine.
"We should all be resassured by this… the jabs are working, we have to keep coming forward to get them, and that includes, vitally, the second jab which we know gives better protection against the Delta variant."
One dose of the AstraZeneca or Pfizer jab gives just 33 per cent protection against the Delta strain.
But two can bump up protection to 66 and 88 per cent, respectively.
The NHS is racing to jab as many people as possible to stay ahead of the Delta variant.
People are being urged to get their second doses as soon as they are invited, with the gap between jabs shortened to eight weeks.
But the Health Sec said it is still "too early" to decide whether to go ahead with Step 4, with an announcement on a decision next Monday, June 14.
Downing Street has today said there is still "nothing in the data" to suggest June 21 will no go ahead.
But the PM's official spokesperson said the data emerging over the coming week will be “crucial” in the decision making process.
"Particularly on hospitalisations and whether or not the excellent vaccine rollout programme has sufficiently severed that link between the increase in cases", they said.
Asked if there is evidence of a third wave, the spokesman said: “We can see that the cases are rising in the UK, that is both due to the increased transmissibility of the Delta variant, and to a certain extent the opening up of measures taken in Step 3.”
How do I book my jab?
You can book your coronavirus jabs by visiting the NHS website.
You'll be asked to enter your details to check you are eligible.
Those who are eligble should get a text message from "NHSvaccine" with instructions.
People may also be sent a text message from their local GP surgery inviting them to book there or at a linked centre.
You can choose to book your vaccination appointments at a larger vaccination centre or pharmacy, or wait to be invited to go to a local NHS service.
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