FIVE million over-70s are expected to start receving the first dose of the Covid-19 vaccine next week, it has been reported.
It comes as 316,694 people got their first dose yesterday, taking the UK total to 3.2million.
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That includes 45 per cent of over-80s and nearly 40 per cent of care home residents.
In some areas more thant 90 per cent of over-80s have been vaccinated, and now ministers are reportedly getting ready to give the go-ahead to the next age group in line for the jab.
Letters inviting over-70s to book their vaccination could start arriving early next week, The Daily Telegraph reported.
This means appointments could be made as early as next weekend.
Government sources said the timetable had not yet been agreed, but senior officials said over-70s would be invited for vaccinations “in the coming days”.
A senior source said: "Some GPs have already done most of the over-80s and we can’t afford to wait around.
"It’s taking some time to reach all of the people in the first category so it makes sense to move to the next JCVI cohorts. And we have the supplies to make it work."
New mass sites at St Helens rugby league ground in Merseyside, Bournemouth International Centre and Saxon Court in Milton Keynes are also expected to start vaccinating within days.
In some areas, more than 90 per cent of over-80s have been vaccinated.
At yesterday’s Downing Street press conference, Boris Johnson said: “With almost 45 per cent of our over-80s now vaccinated and almost 40 per cent of care home residents, we are steadily protecting those most at risk.
"And I pay particular tribute to the vaccination efforts going on in Cockermouth, in Cumbria, Yateley and Cheltenham, where they have vaccinated around 90 per cent of their over-80s in their communities.”
It comes as Britain is set to face short-term delays in the delivery of the Pfizer coronavirus vaccine as the company is upgrading its Belguim factory.
Pfizer is upscaling production in Purrs to produce more doses than originally planned for 2021, meaning deliveries to European countreis will be temporarily reduced.
Shipments of the vaccine are set to be affected this month.
But the overall number of doses due to be delivered between January and March will remain the same.
The UK has secured 40million doses of the vaccine from Pfizer and BioNTech.
In response, the Government said that it is still working to its plan of vaccinating all four priority groups by February 15.
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