Every adult in the UK should get their first dose of the COVID-19 vaccine by the end of July — as the British government moves to speed up its vaccination process.
That target date of July 31 is a month earlier than when officials had aimed to get every adult inoculated in the country.
The British government also said it plans to have everyone 50 and older, as well as those with underlying health conditions, get their first of two jabs by April 15, instead of the previous target date of May 1.
“We now think that we have the supplies” to speed up the vaccination efforts, UK Health Secretary Matt Hancock said Sunday.
Like the US, Europe has been experiencing supply shortages of the coronavirus vaccine.
Britain – which has been using the COVID-19 vaccines made by Pfizer and AstraZeneca – is now delaying giving second vaccine doses until 12 weeks after the first, rather than the standard three to four weeks, in order to give more people a first dose shot.
That tactic has been criticized in some countries and Pfizer says it does not have any data to support the interval. However, the approach is backed by the UK government’s scientific advisers.
In New York City, Mayor Bill de Blasio has been calling on the federal government to allow the Big Apple to dole out its reserve of second-dose shots for those in need of a first dose.
Meanwhile, British Prime Minister Boris Johnson on Sunday met with senior ministers to finalize a “road map” out of the national coronavirus-induced lockdown that the country has been in.
Britain has spent much of the winter under a tight lockdown fueled by the highly contagious dominant virus variant, known as B.1.1.7.
Data from Johns Hopkins University shows that the coronavirus has killed 120,000 people in the UK and infected more than 4.1 million.
More than 17.5 million people, a third of UK adults, have had at least one vaccine shot since inoculation efforts began on Dec. 8.
With Post wires