COVID-19 vaccinations: More than 30 million people in UK have now had both doses of a coronavirus jab – Asia Despatch

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More than 30 million people in the UK are now fully vaccinated against COVID-19, according to the government.

A total of 30,204,738 people have had both doses of a coronavirus vaccine (57.3% of the adult population).

And 41,830,546 have received a first jab (79.4%).

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NHS England has now extended the offer of a vaccine to everyone over the age of 23.

And all over-18s in England will be offered a first dose by the end of this week, Downing Street has confirmed.

Meanwhile, members of the public who have already had their first jab are being urged to come forward for their second dose to help protect against the threat of new COVID variants.

To ensure people have the strongest possible protection, second doses for over-40s will be speeded up by reducing the dosing interval from 12 weeks to eight weeks.

All over-40s who received a first dose by mid-May will be offered a second dose by 19 July.

It comes as new analysis by Public Health England (PHE) showed for the first time that two doses of a COVID vaccine are highly effective against hospitalisation from the Delta variant, first detected in India.

The data suggests the Pfizer-BioNTech vaccine is 96% effective and the Oxford-AstraZeneca vaccine is 92% effective against hospitalisation after both doses.

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Why the pause in lifting restrictions?

Health Secretary Matt Hancock said: “Second doses are increasingly vital, so this is an incredibly important milestone. Day after day, our vaccination programme reaches new heights.

“With over 30 million people across the UK now receiving a second dose, we are giving the fullest possible protection to our loved ones in the face of new variants.

“The strength of the union has never been clearer than in the UK vaccination effort. All four corners of this country have pulled together for one common purpose – to get the jab and fight this virus.

“I want to pay tribute to everyone right across the country who has answered our call to arms and rolled up their sleeves to get the jab. I encourage everyone over 23 to come forward and get the jab.”

Over-18s in Wales and Northern Ireland can already get a jab, and people over 30 are eligible in Scotland.

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Gove: 19 July will be ‘terminus date’

On Monday, Prime Minister Boris Johnson announced a delay to step four in England’s roadmap out of COVID-19 measures, pushing back the hoped for 21 June “Freedom Day” to 19 July amid a rise in cases of the Delta variant.

Cabinet Office minister Michael Gove has told Sky News that 19 July is the “terminus date” for England’s remaining coronavirus restrictions and it would take an “unprecedented and remarkable” change in circumstances to derail that.

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Sturgeon delays easing lockdown


Also, Scotland is “likely” to maintain COVID restrictions for a further three weeks from 28 June, the nation’s first minister Nicola Sturgeon has said.

Speaking in Holyrood, Ms Sturgeon did not rule out the further easing of restrictions, but said the Scottish government needed to “buy ourselves sufficient time” to allow the vaccination programme to continue its work.

A three-week delay would allow more people to receive a second coronavirus vaccine amid concerns about rising cases of the Delta variant, the first minister added.

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