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Cuomo says almost all COVID restrictions will be removed if 1.4% more New Yorkers get first dose

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New York Governor Andrew Cuomo announced on Monday that the state will lift most COVID-19 restrictions when 70 percent of adults have received at least one vaccine dose. 

As of Monday, 68.6 percent are at least partially vaccinated, putting the state just 1.4 percent short of the threshold. 

‘The light at the end of the tunnel is to remove the remaining COVID restrictions, get to a point where COVID is not inhibiting our society, not inhibiting our growth,’ Cuomo said at a news conference on Monday. 

‘To do that we have to be at 70 percent. When we hit 70 percent, then I’ll feel comfortable saying to the people of this state we can relax virtually all restrictions.’

Parts of the state are already planning their reopen, with New York City set to drop all mitigation measures on July 1, and hold a mega-concert in Central Park in August to celebrate the end of the pandemic. 

Gov Cuomo said at a news conference that New York can almost fully reopen once 70% of eligible New Yorkers are vaccinated

At the press conference, Cuomo said that when New York hits the 70 percent mark, all capacity restrictions, social distancing mandates, health screening mandates and cleaning and disinfecting requirements will be lifted.

Some restrictions on schools, large venues, public transit, homeless shelters, healthcare facilities and correctional facilities will remain, though. 

As an example, New Yorkers will still be required to wear masks on public transit, and students still have to wear masks inside at school – while being allowed to remove their masks outside.  

Cuomo also said that the state would continue to abide by guidelines set by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), which include unvaccinated people wearing masks indoors. 

The governor also said that his strategy to get the remaining unvaccinated New Yorkers jabbed is to focus on younger people and on certain ZIP codes that have lower vaccination rates than their peers. 

Currently, just under 11 million New Yorkers have received one dose of a COVID-19 vaccine.  

About 11 million New Yorkers have received at least one dose of a Covid-19 vaccine. Many counties in the western parts of the state have fallen behind the counties out east

Many of the counties on the western side of the state have fallen behind their cohorts on the east side of the state.

Vaccine demand in general has fallen in recent weeks, both across the state and across the country. 

After reaching a peak of 3.4 million per day on average in mid-April, vaccine demand has declined to an average of around 500,000.

Health experts attribute the decline in vaccine demand to everyone who wanted the vaccine already having got it, and the leftover group either being hesitant to receive the vaccine or facing some sort of barrier.  

Around 24 percent of Americans do not plan on receiving the vaccine, according to a recent Gallup poll, and more than three-fourths of that group are unlikely to change their mind about getting vaccinated. 

Cuomo has attempted to boost vaccine demand using a vaccine lottery, the same as many states have done.

Last month, New Yorkers who got vaccinated at a qualifying vaccine site from May 24 to May 28 were given a free $20 lottery scratcher.  

New York City is planning on holding a massive concert in Central Park in late August to celebrate the reopening of the city

As Cuomo looks towards the final stages of the states vaccine rollout, New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio is already working to kick off post-pandemic life in his city.

The mayor has enlisted music produced Clive Davis to put together a lineup for a weekend music event, tentatively set for August 21, to celebrate the city’s reopening.

‘This concert is going to be a once in a lifetime opportunity,’ de Blasio said. 

‘It’s going to be an amazing lineup. The whole week is going to be like nothing you’ve ever seen before in New York City.’

Davis told The New York Times he is aiming to recruit eight ‘iconic’ stars for the show, which will last three hours for 60,000 attendees.

‘I can’t think of a better place than the Great Lawn of Central Park to be the place where you say that New York is reopening,’ Davis said. 

This post first appeared on Daily mail

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Covid will last FOREVER and we need to live with it like the flu after Freedom Day

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Coronavirus will never be eradicated and Britons will need to learn to live with the virus even if it causes hundreds of deaths a day when lockdown finally ends next month, top scientists and senior ministers have warned.    

Independent experts seeking to manage expectations before restrictions are lifted told MailOnline that achieving zero Covid deaths was ‘impossible’ and that the focus should be to bring them down to levels comparable with flu — which kills roughly 17,000 people in England annually and up to 50,000 in a bad year. 

The comments were echoed by Michael Gove, who said that while ministers need to do ‘everything we can to protect people’, it was important for the public to ‘accept’ that there would continue to be Covid deaths when the country unlocks on July 19.  

Boris Johnson and England’s chief expert advisers Professor Chris Whitty and Sir Patrick Vallance have all repeated the line that we will ‘have to learn to live with Covid’ in the past 24 hours, in what seems to be a concerted effort to take emphasis away from the daily death numbers. 

There has been fierce debate about what level of Covid deaths would be ‘tolerable’ when Britain emerges from the shutdown — but one of the Government’s top scientists, Professor Graham Medley, said it was ‘quite possible’ there could be hundreds each day post lockdown.  

Professor Karol Sikora, an expert in medicine at the University of Buckingham, told MailOnline: ‘All deaths are very emotional and upsetting… but it’s important we embrace Covid like we have other viruses because it will become a normal feature in society.

‘We should consider it a success if we bring it [Covid deaths] down to levels comparable with flu deaths every year. We will never achieve zero Covid.’ 

Cambridge University epidemiologist Dr Raghib Ali told MailOnline that once July 19 comes and most of the adult population have been given a vaccine: ‘It’s my view that we will be in as strong a position as we ever will be. Prolonging restrictions beyond that point doesn’t achieve much.’

Asked what an acceptable number of Covid deaths would be, he added: ‘If you look at deaths and excess deaths from influenza, the Government tolerates numbers up to about 50,000 [per year].’

Michael Gove, the Cabinet Office minister, told Times Radio: ‘We have to accept that this virus will circulate, and it will be the case, unfortunately, that in winters to come we will find that people contract it or subsequent variants and they will fall ill.

‘Unfortunately there are respiratory diseases, including flu itself, which do every year result in an upsurge of people being taken into hospital, and in some cases suffering tragic consequences.’ In a separate interview with BBC Radio 4, he said ‘we’re going to have to learn to live with Covid’.

Covid has killed more than 150,000 people since the crisis began last spring, but the vaccines have shown to be extremely effective at preventing deaths – reducing fatalities by more than 90%.  Independent scientists seeking to manage expectations before restrictions are lifted told MailOnline that achieving zero Covid deaths going forward was ‘impossible’ and that the focus should be to bring them down to levels comparable with flu — which kills roughly 17,000 people in England annually (shown on graph). Source: Office for National Statistics and Public Health England

Michael Gove (today, left) said that while ministers need to do ‘everything we can to protect people’, it was important for the public to ‘accept’ that there would continue to be Covid deaths when the country unlocks on July 19. Boris Johnson (pictured today, right) said we will ‘have to learn to live with Covid’ at last night’s press conference

It is not clear what levels of Covid deaths the country can expect when lockdown is ended next month, and this has been made less clear due to the outbreak of the highly transmissible Indian variant.

That strain has proven to be at least 60 per cent more infectious than the Kent version and twice as likely to put unvaccinated people in hospital. 

But two doses of the jabs are extremely effective against the mutant virus, reducing hospitalisations by up to 96 per cent. 

The Government’s Scientific Advisory Group for Emergencies (SAGE) warned there could have been 250 to more than 500 deaths per day in the third wave this summer if Step 4 of the roadmap out of lockdown went ahead as planned on June 21.

Ministers urge another 3.6MILLION people in Indian variant hotspots not to travel 

Millions more people in the Midlands and North West of England are being urged not to travel or meet people indoors in an attempt to curb the spread of the Indian Covid variant.

In guidance released last night, roughly 3.6million residents in Birmingham, Liverpool, Warrington and parts of Cheshire were asked to minimise their movements in and out of the affected areas, which are recording higher than average levels of the mutant strain.

But Boris Johnson made no mention of the fresh advice in his dramatic Downing Street press conference last night, where he confirmed England’s final unlocking would be pushed back by four weeks amid fears the mutant strain could overwhelm hospitals.

Remaining lockdown restrictions are now due to be lifted on July 19, which the Prime Minister last night promised would be the ‘terminus date’.

The Government today doubled down on its new Freedom Day pledge, with Michael Gove saying he was ‘as confident as confident can be about that date’, despite fears from backbench Tory MPs that the goalposts will be moved once again.

Asked about whether the Prime Minister could put Tory fears to bed this afternoon, Mr Johnson’s official spokesman said ‘there is not a significant benefit from a further delay beyond the four weeks because of the success of the vaccination programme.’ 

The six authorities hit with the new guidance are also being offered a ‘package of support’ from the Government which includes surge testing, enhanced contact tracing and financial support to Covid cases and their contacts who have been asked to self-isolate.

The Army will be sent in to help carry out the extra testing to flush out cases of the virus, while NHS boards in the area will be given extra help to ensure vaccine uptake is as high as possible. Residents are also being asked to get tested twice a week. 

They join the 4m people in Greater Manchester and Lancashire, who were placed under the new rules last week. The enhanced measures cover around 9.3m residents across England, the equivalent of 16 per cent of the entire population.

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The group did not provide clear projections for what effect delaying the unlocking until July 19 will have on deaths, but its estimates around hospitalisations show the four-week gap could shrink admissions by more than half.

Prominent SAGE member Professor Graham Medley warned that, even with the extra breathing room the delay gives, Britain could still suffer hundreds of Covid deaths every day later in the year. 

Dr Simon Clarke, a microbiologist at Reading University, said this was possible because there will still be millions of people who are vulnerable to the disease even when the entire country is vaccinated.

A small percentage of people who get the jab will still catch and die from Covid, usually because they are frail and have compromised immune systems.  

Dr Clarke told MailOnline: ‘Even if you’ve got a vaccine that cuts deaths by more than 90 per cent, that still leaves almost 7million people not protected.

‘Then there will be even more people who get infected but do not get seriously ill. So that still means lots and lots of virus circulating which poses a risk to those vulnerable 7m.’

But he said emphasis should be taken away from the Covid death figures and focused on NHS capacity, which he said was now the most important metric.

Keith Neil, an emeritus professor in infectious diseases at the University of Nottingham, said that once the adult population had been vaccinated with at least once dose against Covid it was no longer the Government’s responsibility to try to save every life.

‘We can’t stay in lockdowns forever, people need to make their own risk assessments. If people are worried about Covid or think they might be vulnerable, then they might decide not to meet up with others or socially distance.’

Backbench Tory MPs, including former prime minister Theresa May and Mark Harper, chairman of the Covid Recovery Group (CRG), criticised the Government for delaying the June 21 unlocking by a month, saying it was moving away from its goal of protecting the NHS. They said Britons had to learn to live with the virus.

However, other experts have said it is the Government’s duty to do prevent all ‘avoidable’ deaths and warned ministers against becoming cocky about the virus. 

Professor Gabriel Scally, a public health expert at the University of Bristol, told MailOnline: ‘What’s an acceptable level of road traffic accidents? We don’t accept those deaths we have inquests to find out what went wrong and how can we put it right.

‘Like any infectious disease it’s our duty to do whatever we can to protect people from it. If we don’t take sensible  action and people get ill then we’re being careless with people’s lives.’

Meanwhile, millions more people in the Midlands and North West of England are being urged not to travel or meet people indoors in an attempt to curb the spread of the Indian Covid variant.

In guidance released last night, roughly 3.6million residents in Birmingham, Liverpool, Warrington and parts of Cheshire were asked to minimise their movements in and out of the affected areas, which are recording higher than average levels of the mutant strain.

But Mr Johnson made no mention of the fresh advice in his dramatic Downing Street press conference last night, where he confirmed England’s final unlocking would be pushed back by four weeks amid fears the mutant strain could overwhelm hospitals. 

Daily UK figures show 7,673 people tested positive for the virus, 184 patients were admitted to hospital and 10 people died. The data also shows that 41.8million people have been given their first dose of a vaccine, while 30.2million have received their second

Meanwhile, figures also showed the number of patients being admitted to hospital has soared by 46 per cent over the first week of June. More than 1,000 beds are now occupied by coronavirus-infected patients in England for the first time in six weeks, data also showed. Pictured, how the number of infected patients in hospital in England has risen above 1,000

Rees Mogg talks tough as UK’s daily Covid cases rise by a quarter in a week and hospitalisations soar by 46% 

Jacob Rees-Mogg today gave the first sign of Cabinet dissent over Boris Johnson’s decision to delay the final stage of the lockdown exit roadmap — as ministers doubled-down on No10’s revised Freedom Day pledge, despite cases and hospitalisations continuing to rise.

The Commons Leader said ‘you can’t run society purely to stop the hospitals being full’, insisting the Government ‘doesn’t have the right to take charge of people’s lives, purely to prevent them seeing the doctor’.

His comments are likely to raise eyebrows in Downing St, with the Prime Minister already facing rebellion from his own anti-lockdown MPs who have criticised him for pushing back the final unlocking by four weeks. Remaining lockdown restrictions are now due to be lifted on July 19 — or ‘terminus day’, as Mr Johnson called it.   

It comes as Department of Health bosses today posted another 7,673 positive Covid tests across Britain — up by a quarter on last Tuesday’s figure. Other data shows the UK now has the highest infection rate in Europe, overtaking Spain.

Meanwhile, figures also showed the number of patients being admitted to hospital has soared by 46 per cent over the first week of June. More than 1,000 beds are now occupied by coronavirus-infected patients in England for the first time in six weeks, data also showed. 

Despite the uptick in admissions, deaths remain flat. Ten more victims were added to the official death toll today, compared to 13 last week. Separate figures today revealed that England and Wales saw fewer Covid deaths in the first week of June than at any time since March 2020. 

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The Government today doubled down on its new Freedom Day pledge, with Mr Gove saying he was ‘as confident as confident can be about that date’, despite fears from backbench Tory MPs the goalposts will be moved once again.

Asked about whether the PM could put Tory fears to bed this afternoon, Mr Johnson’s official spokesman claimed ‘there is not a significant benefit from a further delay beyond the four weeks because of the success of the vaccination programme.’ 

The six authorities hit with the new guidance are also being offered a ‘package of support’ from the Government which includes surge testing, enhanced contact tracing and financial support to Covid cases and their contacts who have been asked to self-isolate.

The Army will be sent in to help carry out the extra testing to flush out cases of the virus, while NHS boards in the area will be given extra help to ensure vaccine uptake is as high as possible. Residents are also being asked to get tested twice a week. 

They join the 4m people in Greater Manchester and Lancashire, who were placed under the new rules last week. The enhanced measures cover around 9.3m residents across England, the equivalent of 16 per cent of the entire population. 

In other developments, Jacob Rees-Mogg today gave the first sign of Cabinet dissent over Mr Johnson’s decision to delay the final stage of the lockdown exit roadmap, despite cases and hospitalisations continuing to rise.

The Commons Leader said ‘you can’t run society purely to stop the hospitals being full’, insisting the Government ‘doesn’t have the right to take charge of people’s lives, purely to prevent them seeing the doctor’. 

It comes as Department of Health bosses today posted another 7,673 positive Covid tests across Britain — up by a quarter on last Tuesday’s figure. Other data shows the UK now has the highest infection rate in Europe, overtaking Spain.

Meanwhile, figures also showed the number of patients being admitted to hospital has soared by 46 per cent over the first week of June. More than 1,000 beds are now occupied by coronavirus-infected patients in England for the first time in six weeks, data also showed. 

Despite the uptick in admissions, deaths remain flat. Ten more victims were added to the official death toll today, compared to 13 last week. Separate figures today revealed that England and Wales saw fewer Covid deaths in the first week of June than at any time since March 2020.

But the rate is climbing in the North West, where millions of adults are being urged not to travel and meet friends indoors to keep a lid on the Indian variant. Fatalities doubled from eight in the space of a fortnight to 16 across the region. 

No10’s top scientists expect deaths to rise in coming weeks because of the spike in cases — but remain confident vaccines will thwart the disease, preventing tens of thousands of hospitalisations and fatalities.

More than 30million adults have now been vaccinated but MailOnline analysis shows the roll-out needs to speed up by around 12 per cent for the PM to meet his revised target of ensuring all adults have had their first vaccine dose and two-thirds of adults are fully vaccinated by July 19.

This post first appeared on Daily mail

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US hits grim 600,000 COVID-19 death toll milestone

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The United States hit a grim milestone and surpassed 600,000 coronavirus deaths on Tuesday, according to data from Johns Hopkins University.

That figure is more than the number of Americans who died during World War I, World War II and the Vietnam War combined, and equal to the yearly cancer toll.

To put into context, it is about the population of Milwaukee, Wisconsin; Baltimore, Maryland; or Albuquerque, Mew Mexico

More than 3.8 million people have died from COVID-19 around the world, according to data from Johns Hopkins University, which means the U.S. accounts for 15 percent of all deaths, but just five percent of the global population, according to data from Johns Hopkins University.

The heartbreaking figures come almost exactly 17 weeks after America recorded 500,000 lives lost due to the virus.

The country has the highest overall death figure, reflecting the lack of a unified, national response. 

On Tuesday, the U.S. hit a grim milestone and surpassed 600,000 coronavirus deaths

The death toll is more than the number of Americans who died during World War I, World War II and the Vietnam War combined  and equal to the yearly cancer death toll

The first known deaths from the virus in the US happened in early February 2020. It took until May to reach the first 100,000 dead. The toll hit 200,000 deaths in September and 300,000 in December.

Then it took just over a month to go from 300,000 to 400,000 and about two months to climb from 400,000 to the brink of 500,000.      

Since then, the death rate has dramatically slowed, taking four months and one week to hit 600,000 deaths.

As devastating as that 600,000 figure is, the true death toll is believed to be much higher than official counts. 

President Joe Biden acknowledged the milestone during a press conference at the NATO summit in Belgium on Monday.  

‘There’s still too many lives being lost,’ he said. ‘Now is not the time to let our guard down.’ 

There are still racial gaps when it comes to deaths.

Currently, black Americans account for 15 percent of all COVID-19 deaths, Hispanics for 19 percent, whites for 61 percent and Asians at four percent, each figure equal to their share of the U.S. population.

However, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) says that after adjusting for age and other factors, blacks and Latinos are between two and three times more likely of COVID-19 than whites.

Additionally, an analysis from the Associated Press found that Latinos are dying of the virus at much younger ages than other racial or ethnic groups.

About 37 percent of Hispanic deaths from COVID-19 were of those under 65, versus 12 percent for white Americans and 30 percent for blacks.

What’s more, Hispanic people between ages 30 and 39 have died at five times the rate of white people in the same age group.

Meanwhile, overall metrics are on the decline. 

On Tuesday, the U.S. reported 12,710 new infections, with a rolling average of 12,451, which is the the lowest figure seen since March 28, according to a DailyMail.com analysis.

There were 170 daily deaths recorded in the last 24 hours with a rolling average of about 319 – the lowest number since March 30, the analysis shows.

With dropping numbers and more than 52 percent of the U.S. population having been vaccinated with at least one dose, states have been dropping pandemic restrictions and mask requirements for residents, a big step in the return to pre-pandemic times. 

However, health officials are very concerned about the combination of highly infectious variants and unvaccinated Americans.

On Tuesday, Fox News reported that the Indian ‘Delta’ coronavirus variant will finally be classified as a ‘variant of concern’ by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC).

The federal health agency plans to upgrade the mutant from ‘variant of interest,’ because of ‘mounting evidence’ that is more contagious than other variants rather than just suspected to be.

The mutant strain has been wreaking havoc in the UK, causing infections to spike 50 percent in one week and hospitalizations to rise by 15 percent. 

Scientists estimate that the Delta variant is between 40 percent and 80 percent transmissible, which has sparked fears that if it has already been detected in multiple U.S. states, a similar outbreak to the one in the UK could be on the horizon. 

This is a breaking news story and will be updated. 

This post first appeared on Daily mail

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England needs to speed up vaccine rollout by 12% to meet targets for July 19, analysis shows

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England needs to speed up its Covid vaccine roll-out by 12 per cent to meet Boris Johnson‘s ambitious target for July 19, MailOnline can reveal. 

Analysis of NHS England data shows 15.3million extra jabs need to be administered to ensure all adults have had their first dose and two-thirds have are fully inoculated by ‘terminus day’. The Government’s previous goal was to ensure all over-18s were offered a jab by the end of July.

Although No10 hasn’t made achieving the goal a clause of going ahead with the final unlocking, Freedom Day was only ever delayed from June 21 by four weeks to ensure millions more adults were fully protected and to save the NHS from being overwhelmed once again. 

Statistics suggest the health service would have to speed up its current roll-out by nearly an extra 50,000 doses per day in order to meet the targets. 

Currently England is administering around 390,000 jabs per day but it needs to hit just under 440,000. In the UK as a whole, around 462,000 jabs are being dished out a day on average — 45 per cent fewer than the best day of the roll-out on March 20, when almost 850,000 jabs were administered. 

London will require the most combined first and second doses to meet the targets, with nearly 4million jabs still needed. Mayor Sadiq Khan today pleaded the Government for more Pfizer and Moderna doses to meet demand for its younger population.

Meanwhile, the UK today passed the milestone of fully vaccinating 30m people, or 57.3 per cent of the population. NHS vaccinations yesterday dished out a further 132,117 first doses and 230,959 second doses.

It comes as NHS chief executive Sir Simon Stevens today announced the health service expects all over-18s to be offered a vaccine by the end of the week. The roll-out was extended to over-23s today.

But the rate at which the final phase of the roll-out proceeds will depend entirely on how many doses are made available by manufacturers, with Sir Simon admitting that ‘supply continues to be constrained’. 

Vaccinating under-30s is entirely dependent on the supply of the Pfizer and Moderna jabs. AstraZeneca’s vaccine is not recommended for under-40s because of its rare links to blood clots. 

Boris Johnson yesterday delayed June 21 ‘Freedom Day’ by four weeks to give the NHS time to vaccinate more adults and prevent the current spike in cases caused by the Indian ‘Delta’ variant resulting in hospitals becoming overwhelmed. 

England needs to speed up its Covid vaccine roll-out by 10 per cent to reach the 18.4million needed to meet Boris Johnson’s lockdown easing targets for July 19, MailOnline analysis of NHS England data reveals. Graph shows: How many first and second doses are required in each region in England in order to give all over-18s a first jab and two thirds of adults second jabs

The Office for National Statistics population estimates — provided by the NHS — include over-16s, meaning the MailOnline figures suggested will be slightly higher than in reality. 

In order to reach the 15.3million doses by July 19, a rate of 438,009 first and second jabs will have to be dished out every day.

England’s current rate as of June 10 is 390,329 meaning the health service would have to provide a further 47,680 a day. At the current rate, it would not meet the Government’s target until July 25.

ALL over-18s are in line to be invited for Covid vaccines by the end of the week, NHS boss Sir Simon Stevens says 

All over-18s are expected to be invited for their first Covid vaccine dose by the end of this week, NHS England’s boss claimed today.

Sir Simon Stevens told the NHS Confederation’s annual conference that the health service would ‘finish the job’ of the vaccination programme to the ‘greatest extent possible’ over the next four weeks. 

He said he expects all remaining adults to be offered their first vaccine by the end of the week but admitted ‘supply continues to be constrained’.

The vaccine roll-out was extended to all 23- to 24-year-olds today, with people in the age group now able to book their appointment. 

In light of the rapidly spreading Indian variant, the Government has brought forward its target for vaccinating all adults until July 19 — the same day the final unlocking has been pushed back until. Ministers had previously pledged to offer jabs to all over-18s by July 31. 

Boris Johnson last night announced a delay to the original June 21 ‘Freedom Day’ by four weeks, amid fears a third wave of Covid could overwhelm the NHS.

Top scientists hope the move will give the health service more time to vaccinate as many people as possible, offering the nation as much protection against the Indian variant as possible.

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London has the most vaccines still needed to meet the target, with a further 2.3million first doses and 1.6million second doses required.

The Midlands needs the second highest amount, with 2million first doses and 670,000 second doses yet to be given out — 2.7million in total.

The South West is closest to meeting the Government’s target, with just 1.1million doses still required, followed by the East of England (1.5million).

But reaching the targets by June 19 will not only require speeding up the roll-out from its current rate but also that supply remains at least at the same levels currently experienced.

London Mayor Sadiq Khan today called on the Government to speed up the roll-out and has requested 367,000 extra Pfizer and Moderna doses for the capital.

Mr Khan told the Evening Standard: ‘Ministers must accelerate the roll-out of the vaccines so that restrictions can be lifted as soon as possible.

‘London has a young population, so it’s essential the Government allocates the capital more Pfizer and Moderna vaccines to allow us to rapidly provide first doses to younger age groups, while bringing forward second doses. This final push will help us to return to doing more of the things we love and to open up our economy.’

All over-18s are expected to be invited for their first Covid vaccine dose by the end of this week, NHS England’s boss claimed today.

Sir Simon Stevens told the NHS Confederation’s annual conference that the health service would ‘finish the job’ of the vaccination programme to the ‘greatest extent possible’ over the next four weeks.

He said he expects all remaining adults to be offered their first vaccine by the end of the week but admitted ‘supply continues to be constrained’.

The vaccine roll-out was extended to all 23- to 24-year-olds today, with people in the age group now able to book their appointment.

Sir Simon said: ‘It is now very important that we use the next four weeks to finish the job to the greatest extent possible for the Covid vaccination programme, which has been a historic signature achievement in terms of the effectiveness of delivering by the NHS — over 60 million doses now administered.

‘By July 19 we aim to have offered perhaps two thirds of adults across the country double jabs.

‘And we’re making great strides also in extending the offer to all adults — today people aged 23 and 24 are able to vaccinate through the National Booking Service.

‘I expect that by the end of this week, we’ll be able to open up the National Booking Service to all adults age 18 and above.

‘Of course, vaccine supply continues to be constrained, so we’re pacing ourselves at precisely the rate of which we’re getting that extra vaccine supply between now and July 19.’ 

This post first appeared on Daily mail

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