Over-35s will be able to book their Covid-19 jab this coming week



Over-35s will be able to book their Covid-19 vaccine in the next few days.

Health secretary Matt Hancock told the BBC the vaccination programme is opening to the next age group in the coming week.

The move comes amid mounting fears over the spread of the Indian Covid variant which has seen rising infection rates in some areas.

Mr Hancock said the Government was ratcheting up efforts to get people vaccinated, with extra vaccinators sent to Covid hotspots.

He told the BBC: “This coming week we’re going to be opening up vaccination to the 35s-and-over across the country because this isn’t just about accelerating the vaccination programme in Bolton, it’s about going as fast as we possibly can nationwide.”

Currently, only people over 38-years-old are able to get their vaccines. At the moment under-40s are being offered an alternative to the Astra-Zeneca jab, but an expert says this could change if the vaccine rollout requires.

Mr Hancock said there was a “high degree of confidence” that jabs work against the new Indian strain of the virus, which has been spreading in parts of the North West and London.

He pointed to early data from Oxford University giving confidence that existing vaccines work against the variant.

“That means that we can stay on course with our strategy of using the vaccine to deal with the pandemic and opening up carefully and cautiously but we do need to be really very vigilant to the spread of the disease,” he told Sky’s Sophy Ridge On Sunday.

“We have a high degree of confidence that the vaccine will overcome.”

But he warned that warned the new variant was highly transmissible and could “spread like wildfire among the unvaccinated groups”.

The “vast majority” of people ending up in hospital with Covid in Bolton had not taken up the jab, despite being eligible, he said.

Professor Adam Finn, from the University of Bristol and a member of the Joint Committee on Vaccination and Immunisation (JCVI), was asked if the JCVI would look again at the recommendation that people under 40 should be offered non-AstraZeneca jabs if it means that it could speed up the rollout.

He told Sky’s Sophy Ridge On Sunday: “Yes absolutely, that’s on the agenda, and if necessary that’s something that could be done.

“When we expressed a preference for non-AstraZeneca vaccines for this age group it was done in a very provisional way on the basis of everything going absolutely right.

“And if the evidence shows that the risk benefit balance for people in their 30s is to be offered that vaccine then absolutely that recommendation will be changed.

“At the moment we don’t think that’s necessary, but it could well become a recommendation in the future.”

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