Over 70s and people who are extremely clinically vulnerable will now receive invites for the vaccine (Picture: Getty Images)
Over 70s and clinically extremely vulnerable people will start receiving invitations for their coronavirus vaccines this week.
This ‘significant milestone’ means the Government’s vaccination programme has moved on to begin vaccinating the next two priority groups, with more than 3.8 million people having already received their first does of their vaccine.
Over-80s, care home residents and NHS and social care staff will still be prioritised going forward, but sites that have enough supply and capacity to vaccinate more people can invite the next two groups.
Boris Johnson has pledged to offer vaccinations to the first four priority groups by the middle of next month, while Dominic Raab said on Sunday that all adults would be offered a first dose by September.
The Prime Minister said: ‘Today is a significant milestone in our vaccination programme as we open it up to millions more people who are most at risk from Covid 19.
‘We are now delivering the vaccine at a rate of 140 jabs a minute and I want to thank everyone involved in this national effort.
‘We have a long way to go and there will doubtless be challenges ahead – but by working together we are making huge progress in our fight against this virus.’
The next two priority groups will start getting their vaccine (Picture: PA)
Health Secretary Matt Hancock said: ‘Now that more than half of all over-80s have had their jab, we can begin vaccinating the next most vulnerable groups.
‘Where an area has already reached the vast majority of groups 1-2, they can now start opening up the programme to groups 3-4.
‘We are working day and night to make sure everyone who is 70 and over, our health and social care workers and the clinically extremely vulnerable are offered the vaccine by the middle of February and our NHS heroes are making huge strides in making this happen.
‘This measure does not mean our focus on getting care homes, healthcare staff and those aged 80 and over vaccinated is wavering – it will remain our utmost priority over the coming weeks to reach the rest of these groups.’
Audrey Elson, 84, receives an injection of the Oxford/AstraZeneca coronavirus vaccine at Lichfield Cathedral (Picture: PA)
It comes as 10 more mass vaccination centres are set to open this week ready to help the more than one million over-80s who have been invited to get their jab.
Blackburn Cathedral, St Helens rugby ground, Norwich Food Court and a park-and-ride outside York are some of the locations where large-scale vaccination will take place from Monday.
They will join the seven existing mass vaccination sites across the country, alongside 1,000 GP-led surgeries and more than 250 hospitals already providing jabs.
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