England joins Scotland in giving extra vaccine dose to half of all over-50s

Wales will be next to reach the milestone.

Doctor Abhi Mantgani administers a Covid-19 vaccine booster to Joanne Coombs at Birkenhead Medical Building in Merseyside
Doctor Abhi Mantgani administers a Covid-19 vaccine booster to Joanne Coombs at Birkenhead Medical Building in Merseyside

England has become the second UK nation to give an extra dose of Covid-19 vaccine to more than half of everyone aged 50 and over.

A total of 11,093,652 booster and third doses had been given to over-50s as of November 21, figures from NHS England show.

This is the equivalent of 52.1% of all people in this age group, based on the latest population estimates.

Not everyone aged 50 or over will yet be eligible for an extra jab, as booster doses cannot be delivered until six months after a second dose, while third doses can only be given eight weeks later.

HEALTH Coronavirus ExtraDoses
(PA Graphics)

But the numbers reflect the pace at which doses are now being rolled out in England, following the decision two months ago by the UK’s Joint Committee on Vaccination and Immunisation (JCVI) to recommend a booster programme for over-50s.

The figure of 52.1% is up from 44.0% a week earlier and 28.8% at the start of November, according to analysis by the PA news agency.

Scotland was the first UK nation to give an extra dose of vaccine to at least half its entire over-50s population, passing the milestone last week.

The figure now stands at 56.4%, according to Public Health Scotland.

Wales and Northern Ireland do not publish a full breakdown by age group of the take-up of extra doses, instead giving the figures only for booster doses.

In Wales, 610,267 booster doses had been given to over-50s as of November 21, Public Health Wales said – the equivalent of 46.8% of the entire age group.

The proportion for Northern Ireland is 33.9%, with 233,167 booster doses delivered to people aged 50 and over, according to the Northern Ireland Department of Health.

HEALTH Coronavirus
(PA Graphics)

Percentages are based on the latest official population estimates for the UK, which are for mid-2020 and are used by the Government and the UK health agencies for reporting levels of vaccine take-up.

Booster doses are being extended from Monday to all over-40s in the UK, following recommendation last week by the JCVI.

Other groups currently able to receive a booster – six months after a second dose – include frontline health and social care workers, along with adults aged 16 and over with underlying health conditions that put them at higher risk of severe coronavirus.

Third doses are available eight weeks after a second dose to people aged 12 and over with severely weakened immune systems.

Overall, 15,331,311 booster and third doses of vaccine have now been delivered across the UK – the equivalent of 26.7% of everyone aged 12 and over, or 22.9% of the entire population.

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