United Kingdom under-30s invited to book Covid jab appointments from this week

United Kingdom under-30s invited to book Covid jab appointments from this week

United Kingdom under-30s invited to book Covid jab appointments from this week

Concerns are mounting over whether the emergence of the Delta variant threatens the government's provisional June 21 deadline for lifting virus restrictions.

"Then, once we have got everybody having had their second dose, then you will get this protection that we are seeing at the moment among older people, you'll get that protection throughout the whole adult population".

Addressing the Delta variant specifically, Hancock said on BBC that scientists had estimated the strain's "growth advantage" was "around 40 percent".

Mr Hancock told Sky News' Trevor Phillips On Sunday programme that vaccines had "severed but not broken" the link between a rise in cases and an increase in the number of people being admitted to hospital. Public Health England said last month that research showed double vaccination was similarly effective against both the Kent and Delta variants.

Last week, Prime Minister Boris Johnson said he could see nothing in the data that would derail the plan to end lockdown restrictions, although caution was needed.

"Everybody must go and get their second jab though because the first isn't as effective on its own".

"I think since everybody is going to be able to get the vaccination, other than those who for medical reasons can't, I think it really is important that people are encouraged to get vaccinated", he told the Andrew Marr Show.

Matt Hancock, in what will be viewed as the clearest indication yet that the target date for lifting all restrictions could slip, stressed that June 21 was a "not before" date and that it was only "pencilled in" as the next step out of lockdown. One of the four critical tests set by the government for a reopening is that the assessment of the risk from the deadly virus is not fundamentally changed by new VOC.

The news comes as people who have been contacted to bring forward their second coronavirus vaccine appointment are being urged to rebook as soon as possible.

Hancock acknowledged that the Delta variant "does make the calculation more hard for June 21".

The senior Government minister also implied that social distancing could continue beyond the final stage of the Prime Minister's road map.

"Yes, I wouldn't rule that out", Mr Hancock told the BBC.

"And separately we have a piece of work on what the social distancing rules should be after that".

So far hospitalisations are "broadly flat", with very few people hospitalised after receiving both vaccine doses, he added.

The UK recorded a further 6,238 coronavirus cases on Friday as England's R number, or the rate of infection, began to rise again, largely attributed to the Delta variant.

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