Hopes for lifting lockdown on 5 July rise as Covid jab bookings top 1 million in 2 days
The huge surge in bookings comes as health experts say the successful vaccination drive could see all remaining lockdown restrictions lifted ahead of schedule on 5 July, two weeks earlier than currently planned.
Hundreds queue for jabs
A total of 1,008,472 vaccine appointments were arranged over Friday and Saturday (18-19 June) via the booking service, averaging more than 21,000 every hour, or six every second, NHS England said.
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The full figure is likely to be higher as it does not include appointments at local GP-led vaccination services or people receiving the jab at walk-in centres
Hundreds of people queued at Tottenham Hotspur’s stadium in London on Sunday (20 June) for their jabs, while similar pop-up centres opened at the Olympic Stadium, Stamford Bridge, Charlton Athletic FC, Selhurst Park and Crystal Palace Athletics Centre on what has been dubbed “Super Saturday”.
The huge vaccination drive has seen the NHS administer around 62 million doses of Covid-19 vaccines since Margaret Keenan became the first member of the public to get a jab on 8 December 2020.
A total of four in five adults have now received their first dose of a Covid-19 vaccine, with three in five now fully vaccinated, according to NHS England
And since the rollout extended to younger people, almost nine million in their twenties and thirties have now received their first dose of a Covid-19 vaccine.
It is hoped all adults aged 40 and over will received their second dose of a Covid-19 vaccine before the full lifting of all lockdown restrictions in England, planned for 19 July
The promising figures come as Snapchat, Reddit, TikTok and YouTube partner with the government and NHS in an effort to encourage more young people to come forward for their Covid-19 vaccination.
NHS England chief executive Sir Simon Stevens said “it is fantastic” that so many young people have come forward for their jab, now that the vaccination programme has been opened to all adults aged 18 and over.
Health Secretary Matt Hancock added: “It is superb to see the continued enthusiasm young people are showing for vaccines across the country.
“It is vital we build on this momentum for second doses so people have the fullest protection possible.”
Changes to lockdown from 21 June
Prime Minister Boris Johnson had originally planned to end all legal coronavirus restrictions in England on Monday (21 June), but delayed the lockdown roadmap by four weeks following concerns over the rapidly spreading Delta Covid-19 variant.
Instead only a minor change to restrictions will be made on Monday (21 June), with the 30-person cap for weddings now removed, allowing venues to limit numbers based on space required to enforce social distancing measures.
Mr Johnson is also facing pressure from backbench Conservative MPs over current border restrictions, after The Times reported that fewer than one in 200 travellers from amber list countries are testing positive for Covid-19.
Sir Graham Brady, the chairman of the 1922 Committee of Tory MPs, said: “It’s time British people were able to reap the benefits of the vaccines and for us to get the travel industry moving.”