NHS vaccine lead urges people not to delay second dose
The director of England’s NHS COVID vaccination programme, Dr Emily Lawson, is urging people that are contacted to bring forward their second jab, to rebook as soon as possible, after she received her follow-up jab this week.
Around 98% – 39 out of 40 – of people are currently taking up their second dose within 12 weeks, according to new data from the health service out today, which also shows there were 13.5 million first and second doses given out in May, making it the highest month on record, exceeding by more than one million the next highest month, March, which saw 12.2 million doses administered.
During the record-high month the NHS was giving 12,500 jabs every hour.
On the advice of the JCVI and government to bring forward second vaccine doses for everyone aged 50 and above or with underlying health conditions, the NHS has sent texts to more than 1.7 million people that have booked through the National Booking Service inviting them to rebook their appointment.
People should continue to attend their second dose appointments, in order to get maximum possible protection against the virus, and the NHS will contact those who should bring their appointment forward.
More than half of people in England are now fully vaccinated thanks to efforts of NHS staff with 23,077,511 people receiving both doses, giving them maximum protection against COVID.
In another milestone, over three-quarters of the adult population in England have now been vaccinated, with 33,525,485 first doses delivered.
Dr Emily Lawson, NHS lead for the COVID-19 vaccination programme who this week received her second jab, said: “Along with half of the adult population in England, I am now fully vaccinated against coronavirus, and I want to see everyone else follow suit.
“If you are contacted to bring forward your second dose appointment I would urge you to do this as soon as possible, as getting both doses is what will give everyone the maximum possible protection against COVID.
“The vaccine is our most effective weapon against the virus and there has never been a more important time to get protected so if you’re contacted by the NHS, book your jab or bring forward your second dose.”
Last month, the government recommended that people aged 50 and over and the clinically vulnerable are had their second doses brought forward to counter the spread of the Delta variant.
Dr Nikki Kanani, GP and medical director for primary care for the NHS, said: “People are already benefiting from the best possible protection from the virus and this has contributed to cutting infections, hospitalisations and deaths from COVID-19.
“Getting the vaccine is the single most important step we can take to protect ourselves, our families and our communities against coronavirus, and I would encourage everyone invited to book your first or second dose as soon as possible.”
Health Secretary Matt Hancock said: “Vaccines are our best way out of this global pandemic. It has been incredible to see the rollout continuing at pace and it is extremely encouraging that millions of people are playing their part by coming forward for their appointments when invited.
“We are fighting this awful virus together – and it is vital everyone has their second dose as soon as they’re eligible to give themselves the fullest possible protection against variants so we can beat COVID-19.”
Vaccines Minister Nadhim Zahawi said: “Vaccines are helping to save lives and prevent serious illness. When you’re called to take up your second dose, do not delay booking in that appointment so you can get as much protection as possible as soon as you can.”