People in their 40s could be offered Covid jab before Easter as rollout doubles its pace

People in their 40s could be offered a Covid-19 vaccine before Easter, as the UK’s vaccine programme is to double its pace this week.

More than 24 million people have now received their first dose of a vaccine, with an average of around 280,000 jabs being administered each day.

If this pace continues, the UK should be able to begin vaccinating the under 50 age group by the end of March.

The deputy head of the Joint Committee on Vaccination and Immunisation has said that most people over the age of 50 will be offered a vaccine “in the next few weeks”, with the over 40s due to follow next month.

The rollout is expected to double this week thanks to a boost in supplies of the Pfizer and Oxford Covid-19 vaccines, meaning that half of all adults should have had their first dose by Sunday (21 March).

Speaking on BBC Breakfast, Professor Anthony Harnden hailed the vaccine rollout as “tremendously successful”, adding that people in their 40s will have been offered their first dose “before Easter”.

He said: “In primary care, we’re still vaccinating cohort six, all with underlying illness, and some of seven. But, throughout the country we’re going down to cohort nine.

“Most people over the age of 50 will be vaccinated really within the next few weeks so it is tremendously successful.

“Those first nine priority groups included 99 per cent of all hospitalisations and deaths, certainly in wave one of the pandemic, so we’re feeling very optimistic.

“We’re seeing a very sharp reduction in the deaths and hospitalisations throughout the country.”