All young people aged 16 to 17 in England are to be offered a first dose of a COVID-19 vaccine by Monday 23 August to give them the vital protection provided by the vaccine before returning to school in September, the Health and Social Secretary Sajid Javid has announced.
Tens of thousands of people in this age group have already been vaccinated at local vaccination sites and walk-in centres across the country and the drive to offer a first jab by the new date will allow those teenagers in that age bracket the two weeks necessary to build maximum immunity.
NHS England has launched a new online walk-in site finder to help 16 and 17 year olds locate the nearest available centre. Further sites will come online over the coming days and weeks.
People aged 16 and 17 will be able to get vaccinated at one of more than 800 GP-led local vaccination sites. Thousands will be invited including by text and letter to book their appointments through GPs or via walk-in centres to help keep them, their families and friends safe from the virus.
The vaccines have already saved around 84,600 lives and prevented 23.4 million infections and 66,900 hospitalisations in England up to 6 August, according to the latest data from Public Health England and Cambridge University.
Health and Social Care Secretary Sajid Javid said:
It is brilliant to see tens of thousands of young people have already received their vaccine – thank you for helping to further build our wall of defence against COVID-19 across the country.
I have asked the NHS in England to ensure they offer a first dose of the vaccine to everyone aged 16 and 17 by next Monday 23 August, this will make sure everybody has the opportunity to get vital protection before returning to college or sixth form.
Please don’t delay – get your jabs as soon as you can so we can continue to safely live with this virus and enjoy our freedoms by giving yourself, your family and your community the protection they need.
Teenagers within three months of turning 18 can book their vaccine appointment online through the National Booking Service or by calling 119. Around 100,000 texts are being sent to those eligible inviting them to book their jabs.
Children aged 12 to 15 who are clinically vulnerable to COVID-19 or who live with adults who are at increased risk of serious illness from the virus are also being contacted by the NHS and invited for their vaccine by 23 August, ahead of the new school year.
Vaccines Minister Nadhim Zahawi said:
Young people have shown great enthusiasm to get their vaccines and this has allowed us to safely enjoy the things we have missed, such as going to the pub or seeing family and friends.
Thank you to the NHS and volunteers for your continued dedication to protect people from this virus. I urge everybody else to get their vaccines as soon as possible.
Data from Public Health England (PHE) shows COVID-19 vaccines are highly effective against hospitalisation from the Delta (B.1.617.2) variant, the dominant strain in the UK. The analysis shows the Pfizer-BioNTech vaccine is 96% effective and the Oxford-AstraZeneca vaccine is 92% effective against hospitalisation after two doses.
A total of 87,421,381 doses have been administered in the UK, with 47,215,352 people receiving a first dose (89.3%) and 40,206,029 people receiving both doses (76%). More than 70% of people aged 18-29 have already received their first dose.
The government is working closely with the NHS to make it as easy as possible to get a vaccine, including through ‘grab a jab’ pop-up vaccine sites across the country, such as London-based nightclub Heaven, as well as football stadiums and festivals up and down the country.
Advice and information on the benefits of vaccination have been shared at every opportunity, including through a range of partnerships with industries catering for predominantly younger audiences.
This work has included partnerships with high-profile entertainment and sports personalities on short films encouraging people to get the jab, such as film stars Jim Broadbent and Thandiwe Newton, and football figures Harry Redknapp and Chris Kamara.
The government has also partnered with dating apps, social media platforms and large companies, such as Uber and Deliveroo, on adverts and incentives to get the vaccine.
NHS medical director of primary care and deputy lead for vaccination programme in England, Dr Nikki Kanani, said:
Thanks to the dedication and hard work of NHS staff, well over 39 million people in England have already had their first, including more than a quarter of a million young people under the age of 18.
Now as teenagers prepare to head back to school or college or into their first full-time jobs, once again NHS staff are doing everything they can to offer young people the lifesaving vaccine as quickly as possible to protect themselves and others. Those who are eligible should check their nearest walk-in centre on the site finder today or book through their GP team once invited to do so.
YouGov polling also shows the UK continues to be one of the top nations where people are willing to have a COVID-19 vaccine or have already been vaccinated. ONS data published on 9 August shows that more than 9 in 10 (96%) adults reported positive sentiment towards the vaccine, and vaccine hesitancy for those aged 18 to 21 has almost halved from 9% to 5%. The statistics also showed hesitancy has decreased for those aged 16 and 17 from 14% to 11%.
Vaccines are available free of charge and from thousands of vaccine centres, GP practices and pharmacies. Around 98% of people live within 10 miles of a vaccination centre in England and vaccinations are taking place at sites including mosques, community centres and football stadiums.
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