Coronavirus vaccines to be offered to over-35s within days, Matt Hancock says

Over-35s will be able to book their Covid-19 jabs potentially starting this week

Chantal Da Silva
Sunday 16 May 2021 11:07
Matt Hancock says Covid strategy on track, but Indian variant has given disease 'more legs'

Matt Hancock has confirmed that over-35s will be able to book their Covid-19jabs from some point in the coming days.

Speaking on the BBC’s Andrew Marr Show, the health secretary said people over the age of 35 will be able to book jabs “this coming week”.

He said the initiative was part of the Government’s effort to speed up the vaccination programme “as fast as we possibly can”.

It also comes amid concerns over the spread of the Indian variant of coronavirus.

Mr Hancock said several people in Bolton have already been hospitalised with the variant, including one person who had received one dose of the coronavirus vaccine and another who had been fully vaccinated.

The health secretary said the latter patient had been “frail”.

“This coming week we’re going to be opening up vaccination to the 35s-and-over across the country because this isn’t just about accelerating the vaccination programme in Bolton, it’s about going as fast as we possibly can nationwide,” he said.

Mr Hancock said he did not believe making Covid vaccinations mandatory in areas with high cases of the Indian variant would be the “right approach”.

“We don’t think that’s the right approach… we think that you might end up putting off more people,” he said when asked about the possibility.

Instead, he said the Government was seeking to make the vaccine more accessible in places like Bolton.

He also said that he could not rule out the possibility of enforcing local lockdowns in places with high coronavirus rates in the future.

He further warned that it was too early to say whether the spread of the Indian variant would impact plans for the final phase of England’s lifting of lockdown restrictions, which is expected to come next month.

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