Sir Simon Stevens said that the NHS would “finish the job” of the Covid-19 vaccination programme to the “greatest extent possible” over the next four weeks.
Prime Minister Boris Johnson announced a delay to the lifting of lockdown restrictions on Monday (14 June), with the initial date of 21 June being pushed back until 19 July.
‘It is now very important that we use the next four weeks to finish the job’
Sir Simon told the NHS annual conference: “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 also said that at the moment, about 1 per cent of hospital beds in England are occupied by patients with a Covid diagnosis and the age distribution has really flipped as a result of vaccination.
He said: “Back in January, it was 60/40 – 60 per cent of beds occupied by people over 65, 40 per cent (occupied by people) under 65.
“Now it’s flipped to 30/70, so it’s about 30 per cent occupied by people aged 65 and over 70 per cent by younger people whose prospects are much greater.”