EVERYONE over 18 in Wales will be offered a vaccine by next Monday – as England is set to open up to under 30 year olds in days.
The Welsh First Minister confirmed it wants to give all adults their second jab by the end of September as he steps up plans to jab the nation and stop the spread of new Covid variants.
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At a press conference this lunchtime, Mr Drakeford said: "We will make the offer of vaccination to all eligible adults six weeks ahead of schedule and we expect to reach 75 per cent take-up across all priority groups and age groups a month ahead of target.
"This is a remarkable achievement and a tribute to the hard work of all those involved in the programme – to all those doing the complex work of planning behind the scenes and to the thousands of people vaccinating and helping to run the clinics across the country."
It comes after Matt Hancock said yesterday that more age groups are expected to get their calls for jabs this week.
He said: "This week we will be opening up vaccines to the under-30s and so we are getting a step closer to the point when we have been able to offer the vaccine to all adults in this country."
Everyone over 30 has now been told they can come forward for a jab, and this is expected to be expanded in the next few days.
The Health Sec will give a Commons statement on the latest Covid news this afternoon at around 3.30pm.
Ministers are locked in a race against the virus as they try to get as many people doubled jabbed as possible to halt the spread of the variant.
The India variant of the virus is said to be around 40 per cent more transmissible and cases have rocketed up.
On Friday the UK recorded its highest number of new confirmed coronavirus cases – 6,238 – since late March, according to official figures.
Saturday's figure was down slightly at 5,765 lab-confirmed cases.
It comes as:
- The PM is expected to look at Covid stats this week and make a decision on the June 21 unlocking over the weekend – before announcing it on June 14
- It's possible masks, social distancing and other rules could stay in place for longer
- 23 cases of the Nepal spike of concern of the Indian variant have been reported in the UK
- Ministers say it's still too soon to say whether unlocking can continue – and say they are "open" to a possible delay
- The Indian Covid strain is 40 per cent more transmissible than other Covid variants, Matt Hancock has warned
Kids may be on track to get the vaccine as soon as August after it was approved as safe last week for over 12s.
But earlier today an expert said it would be "foolish" to go ahead with a full reopening of England and that it would pose a "major risk".
Professor Stephen Reicher said the spread of the Indian variant means the four tests for unlocking have not yet been met.
He told the PA news agency: "I think by the Government's own criteria it's quite clear that it would be foolish to proceed on the data that we've got at the moment. The risk would be very great indeed.
"And of course it's a balance of risks but I think it would be a major risk to go further in opening up."
He added: "Again, I make the point that it is about data not dates, and if you make it too much about the dates then you box yourself into a corner and I think that's what the Government has done."
A UK Government spokeswoman said "no decision" had been made on whether to ease all coronavirus restrictions on June 21, amid reports Boris Johnson could delay the move by at least a fortnight.
"As the Prime Minister has set out, we can see nothing in the data at the moment to suggest that we need to deviate from the roadmap," said the spokeswoman.
"We continue to look at the data and the latest scientific evidence and no decision on Step 4 has yet been made."
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