Sir Simon Stevens said all over-18s should be able to book their jabs by the end of this week (Image: Getty Images)
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Everyone aged 18 or over should be able to book their Covid-19 jab by the end of this week, the head of NHS England has said.
Sir Simon Stevens told the NHS Confederation annual conference that the NHS would "finish the job" of the Covid-19 vaccination programme to the "greatest extent possible" over the next four weeks.
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.
From today, anyone aged 23 or older can book their vaccination
(Image: Daily Mirror/Andy Stenning)
"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."
The Government is speeding up the vaccination campaign ahead of further easing of lockdown restrictions
(Image: Getty Images)
He added that just 1 per cent of hospital beds in England are occupied by patients with Covid-19.
And the average age of people in hospital has "flipped" thanks to the vaccination programme – now there are more younger people seeking care who typically have better outcomes.
According to the latest data, 71,672,208 vaccinations have been given in the UK so far.
Of these, 41,698,429 are first doses and 29,973,779 are second doses.
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Meanwhile the NHS has been given orders to "gear up" for new Covid-19 treatments, which the NHS expects to come online in the next few months which will also help to prevent severe illness and death.
Sir Simon said: "We expect that we will begin to see further therapies that will actually treat coronavirus and prevent severe illness and death.
"Today I'm asking the health service to gear up for what are likely to be a new category of such treatments, so-called neutralising monoclonal antibodies, which are potentially going to become available to us within the next several months.
People queue outside a vaccination centre in Bury
(Image: Phil Taylor/SWNS)
"But in order to be able to administer them, we're going to need community services that are able to deliver through regional networks this type of infusion in patients before they are hospitalised, typically within a three-day window from the date of infection.
"So the logistics and the organisation and applying the full excellence of the sort of networked NHS services locally through integrated care systems, we're going to need to harness all of that, to be able to benefit from the new monoclonal antibodies.
"We are setting out a set of asks as to how to bring that about in each integrated care system so that as and when the treatments become available to us, they can immediately begin to be deployed."
Dan Walsh, 18, receives the first dose of the Pfizer/BioNTech in Sheffield
It comes as a new Public Health England study found that unvaccinated people have twice the risk of hospital admission with the Delta variant as the Alpha variant.
As he delayed the easing of all lockdown restrictions from June 21 to July 19 yesterday, Boris Johnson said this could give the NHS "a few more crucial weeks to get those remaining jabs into the arms of those who need them".
Boris Johnson said the delay to Step 4 of his roadmap will ensure more people are vaccinated
He said: "By Monday July 19, we will aim to have double jabbed around two thirds of the adult population including everyone over 50, all the vulnerable, all frontline health and care workers and everyone over 40 who received their first dose by mid-May.
"To do this we will now accelerate the second jabs for those over 40, just as we did for the vulnerable groups, so they get the maximum protection as fast as possible.
"And we will bring forward our target to give every adult in the country a first dose by July 19, that is including young people over the age of 18, with 23 and 24-year-olds invited to book jabs from tomorrow so we reduce transmission among groups that mix the most and to give the NHS that extra time."
A separate PHE study found that Covid-19 vaccines are "highly effective" in preventing hospital admission with the Delta variant of coronavirus.
PHE found that the Pfizer/BioNTech vaccine is 94 per cent effective against hospital admission after just one dose, rising to 96 per cent after two doses.
And the Oxford/AstraZeneca vaccine is 71 per cent effective against hospital admission after just one dose, rising to 92 per cent after two doses.