Young people in England have been praised for embracing Covid-19 vaccinations, with half of all adults under 30 now jabbed.
The milestone was reached after a three-week surge in vaccinations.
More than 4.2 million people aged between 18 and 29 have received a first jab after the coronavirus vaccination programme was opened up to all adults.
The ‘phenomenal’ achievement comes as hundreds of walk-in vaccination sites – including at sports stadiums and shopping centres – opened in England this weekend in a bid to boost the nation’s immunity amid rising covid cases.
The UK recorded another 18,270 infections on Saturday – the highest daily total since February 5.
NHS England director of primary care Dr Nikki Kanani said: ‘The uptake we have seen among 18 to 29-year-olds in the last week shows how much young adults – like all those before them – recognise the importance of getting protected, as the NHS continues to deliver the largest and fastest vaccination programme in history at a phenomenal rate.
‘NHS teams and their local partners are working flat-out this weekend to vaccinate as many people as possible at convenient walk-in sites up and down the country.
‘So if you are 18 and over, go along and “grab a jab” – with every vaccine in an arm, we are one step closer to our summer freedoms.’
A new online search tool lets people in England input their postcode to find their nearest walk-in vaccination site.
The ‘grab a jab’ campaign comes as the number of lab-confirmed covid cases rose by 121% on the 8,247 new cases reported last Saturday.
Some 76,322,467 vaccine doses have now been administered in total across the UK.
There were 177,515 first doses delivered in the past 24 hours and 133,375 second jabs.
Five in every six adults (84%) have now received their first jab, while 61% have received both doses, government figures show.
More than one million vaccination bookings were made between Monday and Wednesday this week.
The NHS is also contacting people aged 40 and over to bring forward their second dose in line with updated expert advice.
Vaccines minister Nadhim Zahawi thanked NHS staff and vaccinators for their ‘herculean efforts’.
He added: ‘Vaccines are the way out of this pandemic and I’d urge everyone – regardless of age, religion or beliefs – to get their jabs so we can beat this virus and reclaim all of our lost freedoms.’
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Author: Sam Petherick