A senior member of the Government’s Joint Committee on Vaccination and Immunisation (JCVI) has said that most over-50s will be vaccinated against Covid-19 “within the next few weeks”.
The Government’s plan for rolling out the vaccine states that all people over the age of 50, vulnerable people under 50, and healthcare workers will have been offered a first dose of a Coid vaccine by 15 April.
Vaccines are currently being offered to over-50s, those with underlying health conditions aged between 16 and 64, as well as unpaid carers for the elderly and disabled. The rollout will then proceed through the rest of the population on an age group basis.
Phase two of the vaccine rollout will first see 40 to 49 year olds offered the jab, working down eventually to the 18 to 29 cohort. The second phase of the vaccine rollout will involve around 21 million people, with hopes that they will have all been offered a vaccine by 31 July.
This is despite reports that key workers may have been prioritised over younger groups of people. However, the JCVI deemed that switching the strategy of the rollout to target people based on their occupation rather than age may have slowed the process down.
Speaking to BBC Breakfast, deputy chairman of the Joint Committee on Vaccination and Immunisation (JCVI), Professor Anthony Harnden, said: “In primary care, we’re still vaccinating cohort six - all with underlying illness - and some of seven.
“But, throughout the country, we’re going down to cohort nine.
“Most people over the age of 50 will be vaccinated really within the next few weeks, so it is tremendously successful.
“Those first nine priority groups included 99% of all hospitalisations and deaths, certainly in wave one of the pandemic, so we’re feeling very optimistic.
“We’re seeing a very sharp reduction in the deaths and hospitalisations throughout the country.”