Covid jab bookings in England top one million in two days

21 June 2021, 00:01

A total of 1,008,472 jabs were booked over Friday and Saturday
A total of 1,008,472 jabs were booked over Friday and Saturday. Picture: PA

By Patrick Grafton-Green

More than one million Covid-19 jabs were booked in just two days after the NHS vaccination programme opened to all adults in England on Friday.

A total of 1,008,472 appointments were arranged over Friday and Saturday through the booking service, NHS England said.

This was an average of more than 21,000 every hour, or six every second.

The true figure is likely to be higher as it does not include appointments at local GP-led vaccination services or people getting the jab at walk-in centres.

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The NHS has now administered around 62 million doses since Margaret Keenan became the first member of the public to get a jab on December 8.

Four in five adults have now received their first vaccination, according to NHS England figures, with three in five having both.

People over 40 are now being contacted to bring forward their second jab in line with update guidance from experts.

Sir Simon Stevens, NHS chief executive, said: "The NHS Covid vaccination programme continues in full swing as the finishing line comes into sight.

"It is fantastic to see so many young people coming forward to play their part, protecting themselves, their friends and their family - nearly nine million people in their twenties and thirties have now had their first dose."

Health Secretary Matt Hancock said: "It is superb to see the continued enthusiasm young people are showing for vaccines across the country."

He added: "It is vital we build on this momentum for second doses so people have the fullest protection possible."

Mr Hancock urged all of those who are now eligible to come forward, adding: "Our life-saving vaccines are having a huge impact - protecting against symptoms, serious illness and hospitalisations from this awful disease."

All adults can book a vaccine at one of the 1,600 vaccination centres, pharmacies or GP clinics available through the national booking service.

Hundreds of people formed long queues at Tottenham Hotspur's stadium in London on Sunday, which opened as a pop-up vaccination centre for one day only.

Huge queues formed at Tottenham Hotspur's stadium on Sunday
Huge queues formed at Tottenham Hotspur's stadium on Sunday. Picture: PA

Despite the long line, the wait was only about half an hour and people were in and out of the vaccination booths within 10 seconds, one attendee said.

It follows similar pop-up centres set up at sporting venues in London the day before.

Giant jab clinics were opened at the Olympic Stadium, Stamford Bridge, Tottenham Hotspur FC, Charlton Athletic FC, Selhurst Park and Crystal Palace Athletics Centre for "Super Saturday".

Professor Kevin Fenton, regional director for London at Public Health England, told LBC the capital was entering a "summer sprint" to get as many people vaccinated as possible by so-called Freedom Day on July 19.

He said the uptake in London had been lower than elsewhere.

Health official knew getting vaccines into the arms of all Londoners would be harder than in other parts of the county due to its diverse population and its pockets of poverty and deprivation, he added.

But Prof Fenton said there had been "incredible progress" over the past few weeks as medics work to "build resilience" among the population in the run up to so-called Freedom Day.