COVID-19: England to hit new vaccine milestone today with half of under-30s jabbed

·2-min read

Half of all adults aged under 30 in England will have received a first dose of a COVID-19 vaccine by Sunday, the NHS has said.

More than 4.2 million people aged between 18 and 29 have received a jab in the three weeks after the coronavirus vaccination programme was opened up to those in their twenties.

Vaccines Minister Nadhim Zahawi praised the "phenomenal achievement".

He added: "It's fantastic to see so many young people coming forward for their jabs, doing their bit to protect themselves and their loved ones."

It comes as hundreds of "grab a jab" walk-in vaccination sites, including at stadiums and shopping centres, opened in England.

The sites were designed to boost uptake of the COVID-19 vaccine amid rising case numbers fuelled by the Delta variant.

The UK recorded a further 18,270 lab-confirmed COVID-19 cases on Saturday - the highest figure since 5 February - however hospital admissions and deaths remain low.

Appetite for jabs remains high as the vaccination programme enters its final stages.

More than one million vaccination bookings were made between Monday and Wednesday this week, while the NHS is also contacting people aged 40 and over to bring forward their second dose in line with updated expert advice.

According to NHS England data released on Saturday, a total of 64,089,251 vaccinations took place in England between 8 December and 25 June, including first and second doses.

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NHS England said 36,944,843 were first doses, a rise of 177,515 on the previous day, while 27,144,408 were a second dose, an increase of 133,375.

More than four in five adults have now received their first jab and over 60% of people have received both doses, the NHS said.

Dr Nikki Kanani, NHS England director of primary care, hailed the "incredible" progress being made.

She said: "The uptake we have seen among 18 to 29-year-olds in the last week shows how much young adults - like all those before them - recognise the importance of getting protected, as the NHS continues to deliver the largest and fastest vaccination programme in history at a phenomenal rate."

Meanwhile, the Department of Health and Social Care (DHSC) said that the UK had now genomically sequenced more than half a million positive COVID-19 samples.

This genetic make-up data is used to identify new variants and help suppress the spread of the virus, with it estimated that the UK contributes about half of all sequencing shared for comparison around the world.

The DHSC said that such work, which is informed by the rollout of surge testing, will help support decisions over relaxing social distancing rules in the future.

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