BRITAIN will be able to reach population immunity, an expert has said, as the programme speeds up.
Professor Adam Finn, from the University of Bristol, said he was "optimistic” the threshold can be reached.
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Speaking to BBC Radio 4's Today programme, Prof Finn creddited the “high coverage we're achieving, and the extremely effective vaccines we've got”.
Just over 70 per cent of the adult population have had one vaccine dose, and almost 40 per cent have had two.
Uptake has been in the high 90s generally, but there are pockets where a considerable fraction are still not jabbed.
Population immunity is when so many people have immunity to a disease, like Covid or measles, that there is an indirect protection over the whole population.
Sometimes termed “herd immunity”, it helps to keep a disease at bay.
The UK is edging closer to population immunity thanks to the highly successful Covid vaccines.
And from today, jab invites are being extended to those aged 35 and 34.
Texts inviting people to book a vaccination will be sent out today and tomorrow, with younger folk in their thirties invited within days.
It’s thought all Brits over the age of 18 could be jabbed within the next month – earlier than the July target.
But Prof Adam Finn said today it was still undecided whether children will be vaccinated while there are billions of adults worldwide waiting for a jab.
Efforts to vaccinate younger adults in the UK are being sped up amid fears of the new Indian variant which is more easily spread between people.
National NHS Medical Director Professor Stephen Powis said: “Getting the vaccine is the single most important step we can take to protect ourselves, our families and our communities against Covid 19, so when you’re called forward, book your appointment and join the tens of millions who have already been jabbed.”
Prof Powis said the UK has “one of the highest uptake rates in the world”.
However there are still people left unvaccinated that must be reached.
Experts have warned those yet to be offered a jab, or who have refused it, are at the most risk of catching the new variant of coronavirus.
The Indian B.1617.2 variant has already infected at least 3,000 people since it emerged in mid-April.
It is now believed to be the dominant strain across 23 areas in the UK, leading to a surge testing blitz.
The Health Secretary Matt Hancock told a Downing Street press conference on Wednesday: “We are seeing the vast majority of cases, both of the existing variant and of the B1617.2 variant, amongst younger groups and unvaccinated people.
“On the one hand hand that is actually a good sign as it implies the vaccine is working effectively, but obviously we don’t want to see a huge increase in the number of cases everywhere.”
Mr Hancock told the Commons earlier in the day that there were 25 people in Bolton Hospital with Covid, the majority of whom were unvaccinated.
He said the emergence of the Indian variant meant it was “even more important” for people to get vaccinated.
Boris Johnson also said yesterday the vaccines currently rolled out in the UK are "effective against all variants" – including the Indian mutation.
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