More than 600,000 vaccine appointments booked in 48-hour period in UK as Indian variant concerns grow

Hundreds of thousands of vaccine appointments were booked in the 48 hours after the programme opened to people aged in their late 30s.

Sunday, 16th May 2021, 4:45 am

Some 611,863 appointments for first and second doses were made in the period after 38 and 39-year-olds became eligible to arrange their jabs from Thursday.

NHS England said younger people in their thirties are expected to be invited over the next few days and weeks.

Health Secretary Matt Hancock said he is “delighted” that people in the new age range have made appointments so quickly, as he urged others to do the same when their turn comes.

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A woman receives a Covid jab(Photo: John Cairns/University of Oxford)

Following the announcement on Friday that second-dose appointments will be brought forward from 12 to eight weeks for people aged 50 and above, NHS England advised that no-one needs to contact the health service.

People due to get their second dose in the next ten days, up to and including May 24, should attend their appointment as planned.

Others will be contacted by the NHS to let them know when they can rebook.

More than two thirds of people aged 50 and above have been fully vaccinated with two doses.

More than three quarters of people aged between 40 and 49 have had first doses just a fortnight after they were first offered a jab in the rollout.

Some 30 million people have had a first dose in England – two thirds of the total adult population.

NHS national medical director Professor Stephen Powis said: “Getting the vaccine is the single most important step we can take to protect ourselves, our families and our communities against Covid 19, so when you’re called forward, book your appointment and join the tens of millions who have already been jabbed.”