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The Telegraph

Ministers race to offer all over-50s a second vaccination before June 21

Ministers are in a race to offer all over-50s a second coronavirus vaccine dose before the planned end of restrictions on June 21, the vaccines minister has said. Nadhim Zahawi said the Government was aiming to offer full protection to older people before the planned “unlocking” amid concern that the Indian variant could throw the roadmap off course. The delivery of second doses to over-50s had already been accelerated after a Public Health England (PHE) study showed that both Pfizer and AstraZeneca vaccines are much less effective against the Indian variant after a single dose. Speaking on the Andrew Marr show, Mr Zahawi said the UK was “in a race” to get people vaccinated but the Government “hopes to be able to protect all over-50s with two doses before 21 June”, due to be the next and final step in England’s lifting of lockdown. However, he later warned: “I could do with more supply” in order to “protect more people more rapidly”. According to NHS data, less than half of those aged between 50 and 59 in England have already been vaccinated with both doses, although the figure rises to 90 per cent of those above the age of 70. Scientists have warned that in Israel, where the vaccination rate has led the world, restrictions did not begin to fully lift until 70 per cent of the population was double jabbed. In England, around 46 per cent of adults have received both doses.