Half of people in their thirties in England have had Covid jab
More than half of people in their 30s in England have received a coronavirus vaccination in a period of little over two weeks, new figures reveal.
NHS England said that, since it began opening up the vaccine rollout to this age group on May 13, some 53% of those aged 30 to 39 have been given at least one dose.
People aged 30 to 31 were the most recent group to be invited for their jab - from Wednesday - with more than five million appointments made through the national booking service within 72 hours.
The data comes as the NHS is asking people aged 50 and over, as well as those who are clinically vulnerable, to bring forward their second Covid-19 vaccination to help combat the spread of the B1.617.2 variant first identified in India.
It follows the Joint Committee on Vaccination and Immunisation (JCVI) recommending earlier this month that the second dose interval be shortened from 12 weeks to eight for people in priority cohorts.
NHS England said that, so far, 600,000 people have been invited to rearrange their second jab through the national booking service, with around a quarter moving their appointment earlier.
Overall, more than 32 million people have been vaccinated with a first dose in England, almost three-quarters of the total adult population, while more than 20 million people have had both doses.
NHS chief executive Sir Simon Stevens said: "It is remarkable that, in little over two weeks since people in their 30s began getting their invites, more than half have now had their first dose.
"This success is no happy accident but the result of months of careful planning and the sheer hard work and dedication of NHS staff.
"The Covid-19 vaccine is our most effective weapon against coronavirus and the best way of protecting yourself and loved ones, so, if you do one thing this bank holiday weekend, book your lifesaving jab and, crucially, if you're contacted by the NHS to do so, bring forward your second dose of vital protection."
Health Secretary Matt Hancock said he is "absolutely thrilled" at the progress in the 30s age group and thanked those coming forward "to do their bit to defeat the virus".
He added: "As we enjoy the reopening of pubs and restaurants again, vaccines will play a crucial role in protecting us and those around us.
"Vaccines are the best way out of this pandemic and I urge everybody to take up the offer when eligible."