The UK’s health officials on Friday opened up the country’s Covid vaccination programme to all adults, in what has been dubbed as the “final push” to offer protection against the deadly virus.
The National Health Service (NHS) said everyone aged 18 and over is being urged to arrange a jab if they have not had one as it begins sending around 1.5 million texts to people aged 18-20.
It said the latest “milestone” in the NHS Covid Vaccination Programme comes fewer than 200 days since the health service made history by delivering the first Covid vaccine outside of a clinical trial on December 8, 2020.
“Offering all adults a jab less than 200 days after the programme launched is one of our country’s greatest collective achievements, saving over 14,000 lives so far,” said UK Prime Minister Boris Johnson.
“I cannot thank NHS staff, the Army, volunteers, manufacturers and all those involved in this extraordinary national effort enough. Today sees vaccines accelerate in their race with the virus – so now let’s finish the job. If you haven’t yet, come forward and get your jab,” he said.
According to latest figures, around eight in 10 adults have had their first dose while more than half have had their second dose, seen as vital in the fight against the highly transmissible Delta variant of Covid first identified in India.
“This is a momentous occasion in our national mission. In just over six months the NHS has administered more than 72 million vaccines across the UK at lightning speed and reached 4 in 5 adults. Now we are offering a jab to every single person over the age of 18 in England,” said UK Health Secretary Matt Hancock.