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All UK adults to be offered Covid vaccine by July 31, Boris Johnson pledges
20 February 2021, 22:30 | Updated: 21 February 2021, 12:47
All UK adults should be offered a Covid-19 vaccine by the last day of July, the Prime Minister has pledged.
The UK has been powering through the vaccination process, and so far more than 16.8 million people have now received their first dose of a vaccine at one of the 1,500 vaccination sites across the country, and almost 600,000 have received their second.
Boris Johnson said the latest accelerated rollout would help protect the most vulnerable sooner and enable the easing of some restrictions.
Adults aged 50 and over - as well as those with underlying health conditions which put them at higher risk - will be offered a vaccine by April 15 under the expedited plans.
By July 31, all adults should have been offered a jab - though the order of priority for those under 50 has yet to be outlined by the Joint Committee on Vaccination and Immunisation (JCVI).
Health Secretary Matt Hancock said the Government believed it had the vaccine supplies to meet the new target of offering all adults a jab by the end of July.
"We now think that we have the supplies to be able to do that, we can see the NHS and all of those partners and all of those working on this have been able to deliver jabs at about half-a-million a day, which is an incredible effort," he said today.
Ministers had set a target to offer vaccines to all adults by September, with an aim to reach all those aged 50 and over in the first nine JCVI priority groups by May.
The new targets will be seen as a sign of increasing confidence within Government that the vaccine supply will remain steady over the coming months.
The Government met its ambition to offer jabs to all those in the top four priority groups - adults aged 70 and over, frontline health and social care workers and the most clinically vulnerable - by February 15.
The accelerated rollout will fuel calls for coronavirus restrictions to be eased sooner, but Mr Johnson insisted the route out of lockdown would be "cautious and phased".
It was reported on Saturday that two households will be able to meet outside by Easter under Boris Johnson’s so-called ‘roadmap’ out of lockdown which will be unveiled on Monday.
The Prime Minister will spend the weekend finalising his road map for relaxing the stringent measures before announcing the plans to MPs on Monday.
He said: "Hitting 15 million vaccinations was a significant milestone - but there will be no let up, and I want to see the rollout go further and faster in the coming weeks.
"We will now aim to offer a jab to every adult by the end of July, helping us protect the most vulnerable sooner, and take further steps to ease some of the restrictions in place.
"But there should be no doubt - the route out of lockdown will be cautious and phased, as we all continue to protect ourselves and those around us."
Downing Street said the JCVI would publish its priority list for the second phase of the vaccine programme in due course, amid calls for teachers and other frontline workers to be prioritised.