All adults to be offered Covid vaccine by end of July, PM pledges
- Credit: Danielle Booden
All adults in Norfolk and Waveney should be offered a coronavirus vaccine by the end of July, Boris Johnson has pledged.
The Prime Minister said the accelerated rollout across the UK would help protect the most vulnerable sooner and enable the easing of some restrictions.
Adults aged 50 and over - as well as those with underlying health conditions which put them at higher risk - will be offered a vaccine by April 15 under the expedited plans.
By July 31, all adults should have been offered a jab - though the order of priority for those under 50 has yet to be outlined by the Joint Committee on Vaccination and Immunisation (JCVI).
Ministers had set a target to offer vaccines to all adults by September, with an aim to reach all those aged 50 and over in the first nine JCVI priority groups by May.
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The new targets will be seen as a sign of increasing confidence within Government that the vaccine supply will remain steady over the coming months.
The Government met its ambition to offer jabs to all those in the top four priority groups - adults aged 70 and over, frontline health and social care workers and the most clinically vulnerable - by February 15.
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More than 16.8 million people have now received their first dose of a vaccine at one of the 1,500 vaccination sites across the country, and almost 600,000 have received their second.
The accelerated rollout will fuel calls for coronavirus restrictions to be eased sooner, but Mr Johnson insisted the route out of lockdown would be "cautious and phased".
The Prime Minister will spend the weekend finalising his road map for relaxing the stringent measures before announcing the plans to MPs on Monday.
Earlier on Saturday, it was reported care home residents will be allowed to hold hands with a regular indoor visitor from March 8, while families could also be reunited outdoors within weeks.
Mr Johnson said: "Hitting 15 million vaccinations was a significant milestone - but there will be no let up, and I want to see the rollout go further and faster in the coming weeks.
"We will now aim to offer a jab to every adult by the end of July, helping us protect the most vulnerable sooner, and take further steps to ease some of the restrictions in place.
"But there should be no doubt - the route out of lockdown will be cautious and phased, as we all continue to protect ourselves and those around us."
Downing Street said the JCVI would publish its priority list for the second phase of the vaccine programme in due course, amid calls for teachers and other frontline workers to be prioritised.