Nick Abbot 10pm - 1am
Over 18s in England expected to be invited for jab by end of week
15 June 2021, 12:52
All adults in England are expected to be invited for their first coronavirus jab by the end of the week, the NHS chief has said.
This comes after it was announced 23 and 24 year olds would be able to book their vaccines from today.
CEO Sir Simon Stevens said that only one per cent of hospital beds in England are currently occupied by Covid-19 patients.
He added that the average age of people in hospital has "flipped" thanks to the vaccination programme - now there are more younger people seeking care who typically have better outcomes.
Meanwhile the NHS has been given orders to "gear up" for new Covid-19 treatments, which the NHS expects to come online in the next few months which will also help to prevent severe illness and death.
These new treatments are expected to be given to people in the community, without the need for hospital treatment, within three days of infection.
He said: "It is now very important that we use the next four weeks to finish the job to the greatest extent possible for the Covid vaccination programme, which has been a historic signature achievement in terms of the effectiveness of delivering by the NHS - over 60 million doses now administered.
"By July 19 we aim to have offered perhaps two thirds of adults across the country double jabs.
"And we're making great strides also in extending the offer to all adults, today people aged 23 and 24 are able to vaccinate through the National Booking Service.
"I expect that by the end of this week, we'll be able to open up the National Booking Service to all adults age 18 and above.
"Of course, vaccine supply continues to be constrained, so we're pacing ourselves at precisely the rate of which we're getting that extra vaccine supply between now and July 19."
Sir Simon added that new treatments for the virus could be introduced soon, helping patients recover rapidly before they are hospitalised.
"We expect that we will begin to see further therapies that will actually treat coronavirus and prevent severe illness and death," he said.
"Today I'm asking the health service to gear up for what are likely to be a new category of such treatments, so-called neutralising monoclonal antibodies, which are potentially going to become available to us within the next several months.
"But in order to be able to administer them, we're going to need community services that are able to deliver through regional networks this type of infusion in patients before they are hospitalised, typically within a three-day window from the date of infection.
"So the logistics and the organisation and applying the full excellence of the sort of networked NHS services locally through integrated care systems, we're going to need to harness all of that, to be able to benefit from the new monoclonal antibodies.
"We are setting out a set of asks as to how to bring that about in each integrated care system so that as and when the treatments become available to us, they can immediately begin to be deployed."
The NHS also announced plans to establish services for Long Covid, aiming to help children with symptoms.