Over-18s in England can start booking COVID-19 vaccination appointments from this week, Prime Minister Boris Johnson has announced on Friday.
By now, all adults in England have been invited to take up COVID-19 vaccines in a bid to reduce the transmission of the CCP (Chinese Communist Party) virus and severe illnesses and deaths from COVID-19, the disease caused by the CCP virus.
On Monday, Johnson announced a four-week delay to the highly anticipated removal of all legal restrictions on social distancing, which was originally due on June 21.
The delay was endorsed by Parliament on Wednesday, despite a Tory rebellion of 49 MPs.
Johnson said that the delay was to buy the National Health Service some “extra time” while the government accelerates the vaccination program to race against the spread of the Delta (Indian) variant of the CCP virus.
He vowed “a double jab [for] around two-thirds of the adult population” and a first dose for “every adult in this country” by July 19, the new “freedom day.”
Johnson said he’s confident that July 19 will be the final date, but declined to rule out the possibility of future delay, in case “there is some new variant that is far more dangerous, that kills people in a way that we currently cannot foresee or understand.”
In a video released on Friday morning asking young people to get vaccinated, Johnson said he was “in awe of the utter selflessness that our young people have shown” during the pandemic.
“Jobs have been lost, education disrupted, plans put on hold,” Johnson said, adding that students had to “adapt to new ways of learning” while missing out on experiences.
Johnson said he doesn’t “for one moment, underestimate the impact this pandemic has had” on the lives of young people, and he thanked them because they “chose to do the right thing.”
Britain has given a first dose of a COVID-19 vaccine to more than 42 million people, almost 80 percent of adults, while well over half have received both shots.
Health authorities in England, Wales, Scotland, and Northern Ireland each run their own vaccination campaigns. Wales and Northern Ireland have already made vaccines available to any adult, while Scotland is offering them to anyone over 30.
Pfizer, AstraZeneca, and Moderna vaccines are being rolled out across the United Kingdom, although officials have said that people under 40 should be offered an alternative to AstraZeneca’s shot after it was linked to rare blood clots.
Reuters contributed to this report.