(Photo: REUTERS/Jason Cairnduff)

The NHS has been asking people not to delay their second dose of Covid-19 vaccine to protect themselves from continuing pandemic threat.

Director of England’s NHS Covid-19 vaccination programme, Dr Emily Lawson, is urging people that are contacted to bring forward their second jab, to rebook as soon as possible, after she received her follow-up jab this week.

On the advice of the JCVI and government to bring forward second vaccine doses for everyone aged 50 and above, the NHS has sent texts to more than 1.7 million people that have booked through the National Booking Service inviting them to rebook their appointment.

“People should continue to attend their second dose appointments, in order to get maximum possible protection against the virus, and the NHS will contact those who should bring their appointment forward,” the NHS said in an update.

Over half of people in England are now fully vaccinated thanks to efforts of NHS staff with 23,077,511 people receiving both doses, giving them maximum protection against Covid-19.

In another milestone, over three-quarters of the adult population in England have now been vaccinated, with 33,525,485 first doses delivered.

Last month, the government recommended that people aged 50 and over and the clinically vulnerable are had their second doses brought forward to counter the spread of the Delta variant.

Dr Emily Lawson, NHS lead for the Covid-19 vaccination programme who this week received her second jab, said: “Along with half of the adult population in England, I am now fully vaccinated against coronavirus, and I want to see everyone else follow suit.

“If you are contacted to bring forward your second dose appointment I would urge you to do this as soon as possible, as getting both doses is what will give everyone the maximum possible protection against Covid-19.

“The vaccine is our most effective weapon against the virus and there has never been a more important time to get protected so if you’re contacted by the NHS, book your jab or bring forward your second dose.”

Health secretary Matt Hancock said: “Vaccines are our best way out of this global pandemic. It has been incredible to see the rollout continuing at pace and it is extremely encouraging that millions of people are playing their part by coming forward for their appointments when invited.

“We are fighting this awful virus together – and it is vital everyone has their second dose as soon as they’re eligible to give themselves the fullest possible protection against variants so we can beat Covid-19.”

Vaccines minister Nadhim Zahawi said: “Vaccines are helping to save lives and prevent serious illness. When you’re called to take up your second dose, do not delay booking in that appointment so you can get as much protection as possible as soon as you can.”

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