Ministers have recruited a host of British sporting legends to help launch their second vaccine drive in less than a week as they battle to vaccina
Ministers have recruited a host of British sporting legends to help launch their second vaccine drive in less than a week as they battle to vaccinate huge numbers of those most at risk from coronavirus.
England’s 1966 World Cup hero Sir Geoff Hurst is among those urging older people to “get it done”.
The government says it is due to meet its target to offer a jab to everyone in the first four priority groups by Monday.
Now, however, the push is on to ensure as many people as possible take the chance to be inoculated.
The move reveals how much of the government’s vaccine strategy depends on a high rate of take-up among those most likely to be hospitalised or die from the disease.
The top four groups account for 88 per cent of all Covid deaths, the government warns.
Earlier this week Boris Johnson issued a personal plea for all over-70s yet to get a jab to contact the NHS, telling them it was not too late for a second chance even if they had previously turned it down.
Former England manager Roy Hodgson, former England cricketer turned commentator David “Bumble” Lloyd, five-time British champion jockey Willie Carson, former England Rugby Union captain Sir Bill Beaumont and double Olympic Decathlon champion Daley Thompson are among those supporting the campaign.
Sir Geoff’s message was: “This is a global pandemic. For goodness’ sake, just get it done. It’s in your interest, as well as that of your family, friends, workmates, and your country.”
1969 Wimbledon ladies singles champion Ann Jones said everyone getting vaccinated offered “the best opportunity of us all returning to some sort of normality as soon as possible”.
Nearly 30 government ministers will also take part in a concerted vaccine push in every region and nation of the UK this weekend.
The health secretary Matt Hancock has already visited the Stoke Mandeville stadium, the birthplace of the Paralympics, currently being used as a vaccination centre. Professor Stephen Powis, NHS medical director, said it was not too late to get a vaccine.
“People in the priority groups have not missed their chance to get jabbed,” he said, “and if you are aged 70 and over and haven’t yet taken up the offer, please do come forward and make an appointment – the vaccine is safe, simple, and will offer you and those around you crucial protection against this virus.”
The top four priority groups include care home residents and staff, frontline NHS and social care workers, anyone aged 70 or over and those who are deemed “clinically extremely vulnerable”.
The over-70s are being advised they can contact the NHS through the online national booking service, as well as through the 119 telephone service or by contacting their GP.
GPs have also been asked to contact their clinically vulnerable patients to ensure they have been offered a jab.
Ministers have set a target to offer a vaccine to all over-50s by May and all adults by September.