All UK adults have been offered a Covid vaccine ahead of 19 July unlocking

18 July 2021, 06:55 | Updated: 18 July 2021, 13:36

Every adult has now been offered a Covid vaccine
Every adult has now been offered a Covid vaccine. Picture: Alamy

By Will Taylor

Every adult in the UK has been offered a dose of a Covid vaccine, in a major milestone for the nation ahead of the easing of restrictions.

It comes just ahead of Boris Johnson's bid to offer a dose to all people aged 18 and over before 19 July, when the vast majority of England's Covid-related restrictions will end.

Two in three adults have also been jabbed, a target the Government wanted to hit before entering Step Four of the roadmap out of lockdown.

But some experts have warned that the major easing of restrictions should not go ahead as set out, with fears about the impact it will have on the NHS.

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The Prime Minister said: "Barely eight months since the first vaccine was given, reaching these targets is another extraordinary achievement.

"Thank you again to everyone coming forward, and to those helping others to get jabbed. You are the reason we are able to cautiously ease restrictions next week, and return closer towards normal life.

"Now let’s finish the job. If you're over 18, book both your jabs today."

More than 46 million adults have had their first dose, or 88% of adults, while over 35 million have had their second, or 68% of people aged 18 and over.

The Government said that with the gap between doses now reduced to eight weeks, all adults have the chance to get both doses by the middle of September.

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"Double vaccinated people will be able to return to doing the things they have missed, such as going on holiday and attending events which require the NHS Covid Pass," the Government said.

Fully vaccinated people – those who have had two jabs and waited at least 14 days since their second dose – will be able to travel to amber list countries without quarantining on return, except for France, after 19 July.

They will also be able to avoid self-isolating if they become a close contact of a case from 16 August, but will still have to quarantine if they test positive for Covid.

Mr Johnson has also recommended continuing to wear masks and take precautions in certain situations - though they won't be legally mandated. However, in some circumstances, such as on Transport for London services, they will still be required as a condition of travel.

Experts have warned about easing restrictions on Monday, with the faster-spreading Delta variant causing concern.

Warwick University Professor Matt Keeling, who is a member of the Government's Scientific Pandemic Influenza Group on Modelling (Spi-M), recently warned there are "still a large number of susceptibles out there" after modelling suggested a third of the population was at risk of infection from the variant.

British Medical Association chair Dr Chaand Nagpaul said previously: "It's irresponsible - and frankly perilous - that the government has decided to press ahead with plans to lift the remaining Covid-19 restrictions on 19 July.

"The BMA has repeatedly warned of the rapidly rising infection rate and the crippling impact that Covid-related hospitalisations continue to have on the NHS, not only pushing staff to the brink of collapse but also driving up already lengthy waiting times for elective care.

He added: "The prime minister repeatedly emphasised the importance of a slow and cautious approach but, in reality, the government is throwing caution to the wind by scrapping all regulations in one fell swoop - with potentially devastating consequences."

The milestone comes ahead of England's relaxation of restrictions
The milestone comes ahead of England's relaxation of restrictions. Picture: Alamy

Mr Johnson has said it is safer to reopen in the summer than in the winter, when people spend more time indoors – where coronavirus spreads easier.

Experts are also worried that flu and norovirus could resurge in the winter.

The Government insists the vaccines are highly effective against hospitalisation from the Delta variant, with the Pfizer jab showing 96% efficacy and Oxford-AstraZeneca 92% after two doses.

A total of 11.8 million infections and nearly 37,000 deaths have also been stopped by the jabs, research by Public Health England and the University of Cambridge suggests.

Health and Social Care Secretary Sajid Javid, who has tested positive for Covid, said: "The fact we have hit another vaccine target early is testament to the sheer dedication of NHS teams and local volunteers in every corner of the UK who are at the centre of the phenomenal rollout of the life-saving vaccines."