More than nine in 10 people over 45 have received at least one dose of a Covid vaccine, the NHS has confirmed, as celebrities joined forces to encourage people to have the jab.
NHS England said 120,000 appointments were booked before 9am on Friday as vaccines opened up to people aged 40 and 41.
Overall, two-thirds of the adult population in England have received their first dose, and more than a quarter have been fully vaccinated.
In another development, celebrities Sir Lenny Henry, Liz Hurley and David Walliams have joined TV actors Lydia West and Navin Chowdhry to encourage people to have their vaccine.
The stars pretend to audition as they tackle misinformation about Covid vaccines.
Hurley urges people to “roll up your sleeve, it’s not just your own life you’ll be saving”, while Sir Lenny says: “People in the black, Asian, ethnic and minority community are 20% less likely to take up the vaccine.”
West, an actress in the TV drama It’s a Sin, tells viewers the vaccine “doesn’t contain pork, or any material of animal origin” and “there is no evidence that it affects fertility”.
Author and TV personality Walliams calls on everyone to get vaccinated, saying: “It’s really important that people of all ages get the jab”.
GP and NHS national medical director for primary care Dr Nikki Kanani said: “Our drive to increase uptake is continuing and this backing from such an incredible line up of stars will go a long way in helping us reassure communities that the vaccine is safe, simple and effective.
“We are very grateful for this wonderful support.
“Since setting out our action plan to boost uptake in February, we have made significant progress in increasing uptake among all ethnic minorities, including black British communities, where the increase has actually outpaced the overall rise.”