Over 600,000 COVID-19 vaccinations were booked in 48 hours last week, according to NHS England.
The COVID vaccination programme has progressed again, as those aged 38 and 39 were made eligible for the vaccine last week. Between Thursday – when the change was made – and Saturday, it is estimated that 611,863 first and second dose appointments were booked.
At some point this week, all those aged 35 and over are expected to be able to book a vaccination appointment.
The JCVI (Joint Committee on Vaccination and Immunisation) have also released updated guidance for the vaccine, with second dose appointments for those over 50 set to be cut from 12 to eight weeks. The news comes as new vaccine sites have been launched in Bolton and Blackburn to prevent the spread of variant B.1.617.2, which was first detected in India.
The speed of the vaccination rollout has so far resulted in 36.5 million first does and 20 million second doses being administered across the UK.
NHS national medical director Professor Stephen Powis said: “Six months into the NHS COVID vaccination programme bookings are still surging, with more than 600,000 jabs booked in just 48 hours.
“The success of the programme, the biggest in NHS history and one of the fastest and most precise in the world, is no accident but the result of extensive planning and the sheer hard work of nurses, doctors and countless other staff supported by our brilliant volunteers.
“On the advice of the Government and JCVI people aged 50 and over and the clinically vulnerable are having their second doses brought forward to counter the spread of the Indian variant.”
After gaining approval earlier this year, the Moderna vaccine is now available alongside the Pfizer-BioNTech and the Oxford / AstraZeneca vaccines.
Health and Social Care Secretary Matt Hancock said: “Our COVID-19 vaccination programme continues at a phenomenal pace, with over two thirds of adults in the UK vaccinated with at least one dose and over a third with both doses.
“This is testament to the tireless work of the NHS, volunteers, armed forces and civil servants in every corner of the UK.
“I’m delighted to see under-40s booking appointments so quickly and I urge everybody to do the same as soon as they are eligible.”