Iain Dale 7pm - 10pm
Half of people in their 30s take up vaccine in England over just two weeks
30 May 2021, 07:28 | Updated: 30 May 2021, 17:39
More than half of people in their 30s in England have received a Covid vaccine dose in just over two weeks, new figures show.
About 53% of people have already been given a jab since appointments opened up to the age group on May 13, NHS England said.
From Wednesday, people aged 30 and 31 were able to begin arranging a time to get a dose and more than five million appointments were made through the booking service within 72 hours.
NHS chief executive Sir Simon Stevens said: "It is remarkable that, in little over two weeks since people in their 30s began getting their invites, more than half have now had their first dose.
"This success is no happy accident but the result of months of careful planning and the sheer hard work and dedication of NHS staff.
"The Covid-19 vaccine is our most effective weapon against coronavirus and the best way of protecting yourself and loved ones, so, if you do one thing this bank holiday weekend, book your lifesaving jab and, crucially, if you're contacted by the NHS to do so, bring forward your second dose of vital protection."
The news "absolutely thrilled" Health Secretary Matt Hancock, who has spent most of the last week defending himself after being savaged by the Prime Minister's ex-adviser Dominic Cummings.
Mr Hancock thanked those who had arranged a dose "to do their bit to defeat the virus".
He added: "As we enjoy the reopening of pubs and restaurants again, vaccines will play a crucial role in protecting us and those around us.
"Vaccines are the best way out of this pandemic and I urge everybody to take up the offer when eligible."
Meanwhile, the NHS continues to ask the most vulnerable people and those aged 50 and over to bring forward their second dose.
Experts have recommended shortening the gap between the first jab and the follow-up from 12 to eight weeks for people in both groups.
It is being used to fight the spread of the variant first identified in India.
The NHS said of the 600,000 people to have been invited to move forward their second dose, about a quarter have done so.
More than 39 million first doses have been given out across the UK, and 24 million people have had their second jab.