The first nine cohorts may have been offered their first Covid jab by the end of March, two weeks before the Government’s target date, it has been reported.
It was announced this week that patients aged 55 and over – priority cohort eight – have started to receive invitations for vaccination.
Times Radio today reported that the ‘significant increase’ in vaccine supply – particularly the Oxford/AstraZeneca vaccine – could mean rollout is faster than anticipated.
It said that the Government is ‘confident’ that from next week up to 500,000 jabs could be delivered every day, totalling three million a week or ‘potentially more’.
With roughly nine to 10 million people to go, all over 50s – cohorts one to nine – could be vaccinated by the end of March rather than mid-April, it added.
And if rollout continues at this pace, all adults could be vaccinated by early June, rather than the end of July as planned, it said.
Pulse understands that this report is correct.
A Department of Health and Social Care spokesperson said it ‘remains on track’ to hit Government targets and supply will support the vaccination of priority groups one to nine by 15 April and all adults by 31 July, as planned.
They told Pulse: ‘The vaccination programme will rapidly expand in the coming weeks as we expect supply to increase substantially and more people will begin receiving their second doses.
‘We are confident in our vaccine supplies and remain on track to offer a first vaccine to all adults by 31 July.’
Last week, a letter from NHS England revealed that Covid vaccine supply to GP-led sites is set to double from 15 March and remain at a high level for ‘several weeks’.
The Office for National Statistics (ONS) has revealed that more than nine in 10 adults across the UK have either already been – or intend to be – vaccinated against Covid-19.
More than 22.5m people have so far been offered their first dose of the vaccine, according to the latest Government data.