Million more Brits eligible for Covid vaccines from TODAY in bid to keep Indian variant at bay

CORONAVIRUS jabs will be open to 37-year-olds from today in a bid to keep the Indian variant at bay, the Health Secretary has announced.

Matt Hancock stated that 37 year-olds will be next in line to have a dose before 36-year-olds are invited on Wednesday.

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Speaking yesterday afternoon Mr Hancock said jabs had been quadrupled in hotspot areas over the weekend such as Blackburn and Bolton, where cases of the Indian variant are dominant.

He thanked the people of Bolton and Blackburn for their "community spirit" when it comes to the jab rollout and urged people to come forward for their jab when they are offered it.

Mr Hancock said the vaccine has saved lives and has prevented hospitalisations.

He said: "I can confirm that people aged 37 can come forward before expanding this at the end of the week."

Addressing MPs he said vaccines would "help us all get out of the pandemic".

NHS national medical director Professor Stephen Powis, said: “With well over 30 million first doses of vital protection against coronavirus delivered just six months into the NHS vaccination drive, the NHS is able to open up to 36 and 37 year olds as the programme continues at pace."

It comes as:

  • Fears local lockdown rules could see TIERS return to England to tackle Indian variant
  • ‘Very likely’ lockdown WILL end on June 21 as planned because vaccine DOES work against Indian variant, says minister
  • New ‘hypersensitive’ rapid test can tell if you have Covid or flu in 15 minutes
  • Two thirds of anti-vaccine fake news and conspiracy theories ‘come from the same 12 people’
  • Lockdown easing may be REVERSED if Indian variant spirals out of control, leading expert warns


It comes after experts warned that lockdown easing could be reversed if the Indian variant spirals out of control.

This week's relaxation of restrictions in England went ahead as planned despite the rapid growth in cases of the strain. 

But Sir Jeremy Farrar, director of the Wellcome Trust, said the key question is whether a rise of Covid cases moving forward will lead to more people in hospital. 

“The new variant that has come, the B.167, is becoming dominant in parts of the UK,” Sir Jeremy told BBC Radio 4’s Today programme.

“Yet vaccination across the country has been extraordinarily successful.

“I think we will see an increase of cases and infections over the coming weeks as some of the restrictions are lifted".


So far over 36.7 million Brits have received a first dose of a coronavirus jab, with 20.2 million having had a second.

The NHS booking website updated at 7am this morning as more slots are to be rolled out across the country.

Mr Hancock on Sunday said that people over the age of 35 would be offered their jab this week.

It puts Boris Johnson on target to keep his promise of having every adult vaccinated by July.

People who are eligible for a vaccine will get a text sent from "NHSvaccine" inviting them to get a dose with a link to the booking site. People can also call 119.

There are thousands of vaccine sites to choose from, including shopping centres, mosques and pharmacies.

It was also revealed that people living in areas where the Indian variant is prominent would also be offered a jab.

Mr Hancock told the BBC's Andrew Marr surge vaccinations will open in Bolton, a hotspot for the new variant – before adding: "This coming week we will be opening up vaccinations to everyone 35 and over across the country.


"It isn't just about accelerating the programme in Bolton. It's about going as fast as we can nationwide."

Addressing MPs in the commons yesterday he said it had been heartwarming to see people lining up at the weekend to get their vaccines in areas such as Bolton and Blackburn where the Indian variant is now the dominant strain.

He added: "To anyone who feels hesitant, not just in Bolton or Blackburn, but to anyone who feels hesitant about getting the vaccine right across the country, just look at what is happening in Bolton Hospital where the majority of people in hospital with coronavirus were eligible for the jab but have chosen not yet to have the jab and have ended up in hospital – some of them in intensive care.

"Vaccines save lives, they protect you, they protect your loved ones and they will help us all get out of this pandemic."

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