England opens walk-in vaccination sites as the U.K. grapples with a Delta-driven spike in cases.

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The New York Times 26 June, 2021 - 01:14pm 39 views

LONDON — The U.K. on Saturday recorded its most new coronavirus infections since early February as the National Health Service ran a “grab a jab” initiative to further drive up vaccination rates.

Government figures showed that another 18,270 people tested positive for the virus across the U.K, the highest daily number since Feb. 5. Over the past week, nearly 100,000 people in the country have tested positive, a near 50 percent increase compared to the week before.

That has raised questions over whether England will be able to end lockdown restrictions as now planned. The Conservative government already delayed that move once, resetting it from last Monday to July 19. Other parts of the U.K. — Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland — are following similar plans.

Thousands of anti-lockdown protesters marched through central London on Saturday. Some threw tennis balls into Downing Street, where Prime Minister Boris Johnson has his office and residence. “Shame on you,” some chanted.

Daily cases have risen fairly sharply over the past few weeks. The Delta variant, which was first identified in India and is considered by government scientists to be between 40 percent to 80 percent more transmissible than the previous dominant strain, accounts for nearly all the new cases in the U.K., officials say.

Most of the new confirmed cases are among younger age groups which have not yet received Covid vaccines. Hundreds of walk-in vaccination sites, including at stadiums and shopping centers, opened in England over the weekend in a bid to boost vaccine numbers, particularly among those younger age groups.

“This is a phenomenal achievement, and it’s fantastic to see so many young people coming forward for their jabs, doing their bit to protect themselves and their loved ones,” the vaccines minister, Nadhim Zahawi, said.

As of Saturday, nearly two-thirds of the U.K. population had received at least one vaccine dose while 48 percent have had two.

Recent analysis from Public Health England showed that two doses of the main vaccines the U.K. is using are highly effective against hospitalization from the Delta variant — 96 percent in the case of the Pfizer-BioNTech vaccine and 92 percent for the AstraZeneca jab.

Though the number of people in hospitals and dying have been edging up over the past couple of weeks, they have not risen at the same rate as infections. On Saturday, the government said another 227 people had been hospitalized, taking the total to 1,505. Those numbers are nowhere near the levels recorded earlier in the year during the peak of a second surge, when hospitalizations neared 40,000. Virus-related deaths have also remained relatively low at 23.

Read full article at The New York Times

Thousands protest UK lockdown restrictions amid Covid-19 numbers soaring

1News 27 June, 2021 - 09:17am

The UK today recorded its most new coronavirus infections since early February as the National Health Service ran a “grab a jab” initiative to further drive up vaccination rates.

Government figures showed that another 18,270 people tested positive for the virus across the UK, the highest daily number since February 5. Over the past week, nearly 100,000 have tested positive, around 50 per cent increase up on the week before. That has raised questions over whether lockdown restrictions will end as planned.

Daily cases have risen fairly sharply over the past few weeks as a result of the delta variant, which was first identified in India and is considered by government scientists to be between 40 per cent to 80 per cent more transmissible than the previous dominant strain. It accounts for nearly all the new cases in the UK.

Most of the new confirmed cases are among younger age groups which haven't yet received Covid-19 vaccines. The latest spike came as hundreds of walk-in vaccination sites, including at stadiums and shopping centres, opened in England over the weekend in a bid to boost vaccine numbers, particularly among those younger age groups.

"This is a phenomenal achievement and it’s fantastic to see so many young people coming forward for their jabs, doing their bit to protect themselves and their loved ones," Vaccines Minister Nadhim Zahawi said.

The spread of the variant upended the Conservative government's plans to lift all remaining restrictions on social contact in England this week. The plan is to lift those restrictions on July 19, but whether it will do so could largely depend on whether the vaccine rollout has created a firewall that protects the most vulnerable. The other parts of the UK— Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland — are following similar plans.

The hope is that the link between infections and those needing hospitalisation and subsequently dying has broken because of the rapid rollout of vaccines. As of today, nearly two-thirds of the UK population have received at least one vaccine dose while 48 per cent have had two.

Recent analysis from Public Health England showed that two doses of the main vaccines the UK is using are highly effective against hospitalisation from the delta variant — 96 per cent in the case of the Pfizer-BioNTech vaccine and 92 per cent for the AstraZeneca jab.

Though the number of people in hospitals and dying have been edging up over the past couple of weeks, they haven't risen at the same rate as infections. Today, the government said another 227 people have been hospitalised, taking the total to 1,505, nowhere near the 40,000 levels recorded earlier in the year during the peak of a second surge. Virus-related deaths also remained relatively low at 23, taking the death total to 128,089.

Worries about the vaccines were heard as thousands of anti-lockdown protesters marched through central London today. Some even threw tennis balls into Downing Street, where Prime Minister Boris Johnson has his office and residence. “Shame on you,” some chanted.

Meanwhile, Health Secretary Matt Hancock resigned after breaking social distancing rules with an aide he was allegedly having an affair with. The tabloid Sun newspaper had run images appearing to show the married Hancock and senior aide Gina Coladangelo kissing in an office at the Department of Health.

In a letter to Johnson, Hancock said the government owes “it to people who have sacrificed so much in this pandemic to be honest when we have let them down.”

Johnson had been facing widespread calls to fire Hancock, who had apologized for breaching social distancing rules. Coladangelo is a friend of Hancock’s from their days together at Oxford University and was appointed to his department last year.

“The last thing I would want is for my private life to distract attention from the single-minded focus that is leading us out of this crisis," Hancock said in his letter of resignation.

“I want to reiterate my apology for breaking the guidance, and apologize to my family and loved ones for putting them through this," he said. "I also need (to) be with my children at this time.”

Covid: Football clubs open up for 'grab a jab' weekend

BBC News 27 June, 2021 - 06:56am

Newly-promoted sides Watford and Peterborough United opened their stadiums for walk-in inoculations.

The Pfizer vaccine is being offered to over-18s yet to receive their first jab and other age groups who can show they are awaiting their second.

Watford's mayor, Peter Taylor, described it as a "tremendous effort".

Officials at Peterborough United's Weston Homes Stadium reported a "steady flow" of people keen to access the mass vaccination offer.

According to NHS England data released on Saturday, a total of 64,089,251 vaccinations took place in England between 8 December and 25 June - including first and second doses.

More than four in five adults have now received their first jab and over 60% of people have received both doses, the NHS said.

Anyone aged 18 or over can turn up at the sites, which include football stadiums, theatres, supermarket car parks and shopping centres, and get vaccinated without needing to book in advance.

The NHS publicised the sites locally so that people can opt to get jabbed during a trip to the shops.

Sir Simon Stevens, NHS chief executive, said the national vaccination roll-out was "now in a race to the finish line".

Watford mayor, Mr Taylor, added: "The Super Sunday Clinic is the biggest pop-up clinic we have done so far, so I want to thank all the GP practices and surgeries across the town for the tremendous effort today administering the vaccine and ensuring the rollout is a success in the area.

"It is instrumental in the fight against Covid-19 and is the best way we can protect ourselves, our friends and family and, hopefully, come out of this terrible pandemic together."

Dr Gary Howsam, from the Cambridgeshire and Peterborough Clinical Commissioning Group (CCG), said the club had been "so supportive" amid the local vaccination effort.

"You don't need an appointment, or even a match day ticket, you can just turn up on the day to join the millions of others who have already had the vaccine to help to protect themselves and others," he said.

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It comes after a 2018 report highlighting a "major error" in the building's design was made public.

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Half of adults under 30 in England jabbed against Covid-19

Peeblesshire News 27 June, 2021 - 06:52am

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Half of all adults aged under 30 in England will have received a first dose of a Covid-19 vaccine by Sunday, the NHS has said.

More than 4.2 million people aged between 18 and 29 have received a jab just three weeks after the coronavirus vaccination programme was opened up to those in their 20s.

The achievement comes as hundreds of walk-in vaccination sites, including at stadiums and shopping centres, opened in England this weekend in a bid to boost vaccine numbers amid rising coronavirus cases.

A new online search tool allows people in England to input their postcode to find their nearest walk-in vaccination site.

The “grab a jab” campaign comes as the UK recorded a further 15,810 lab-confirmed Covid-19 cases as of 9am on Friday – up 50% on the 10,476 new cases reported a week earlier.

Meanwhile, the Department of Health and Social Care (DHSC) said that the UK had now genomically sequenced more than half a million positive Covid-19 samples.

This genetic make-up data is used to identify new variants and help suppress the spread of the virus, with it estimated that the UK contributes about half of all sequencing shared for comparison around the world.

The DHSC said that such work, which is informed by the rollout of surge testing, will help support decisions over relaxing social distancing rules in the future.

Dr Jenny Harries, chief executive of the UK Health Security Agency, said: “Sequencing genomes has been one of most versatile tools in our armoury in the battle against Covid-19, and as we progress down the road map its role only increases in importance – helping us track mutations in the virus and act decisively to stop cases becoming outbreaks.”

According to NHS England data released on Saturday, a total of 64,089,251 vaccinations took place in England between December 8 and June 25, including first and second doses.

NHS England said 36,944,843 were first doses, a rise of 177,515 on the previous day, while 27,144,408 were a second dose, an increase of 133,375.

More than four in five adults have now received their first jab and over 60% of people have received both doses, the NHS said.

More than one million vaccination bookings were made between Monday and Wednesday this week, while the NHS is also contacting people aged 40 and over to bring forward their second dose in line with updated expert advice.

'Whatever your age if you haven't had that first jab make this the weekend when you come and get it.'

This weekend #GrabAJab at one of the pop-up centres near you. Find your nearest centre. https://t.co/USPJ3B4Yo3

🎥 : Professor Stephen Powis @NHSEnglandNMD on @BBCBreakfast. pic.twitter.com/BdzR0ORxZI

— NHS England and NHS Improvement (@NHSEngland) June 25, 2021

Dr Nikki Kanani, NHS England director of primary care, hailed the “incredible” progress being made.

She said: “The uptake we have seen among 18 to 29-year-olds in the last week shows how much young adults – like all those before them – recognise the importance of getting protected, as the NHS continues to deliver the largest and fastest vaccination programme in history at a phenomenal rate.”

Dr Kanani added: “NHS teams and their local partners are working flat-out this weekend to vaccinate as many people as possible at convenient walk-in sites up and down the country so if you are 18 and over, go along and ‘grab a jab’ – with every vaccine in an arm, we are one step closer to our summer freedoms.”

Hundreds of drop-in COVID-19 vaccine sites will be operating this weekend with any adult able to turn up and get vaccinated.

No appointment needed, simply drop in at a walk-in site: https://t.co/fQaOOGtfyM pic.twitter.com/AIvY4rCqt6

— Department of Health and Social Care (@DHSCgovuk) June 26, 2021

Vaccines Minister Nadhim Zahawi said: “This is a phenomenal achievement and it’s fantastic to see so many young people coming forward for their jabs, doing their bit to protect themselves and their loved ones.

“I’d like to recognise the herculean efforts of all those who are working tirelessly to vaccinate as many people as quickly as possible and would like to pay my thanks to all the NHS staff, volunteers, local authorities and civil servants for their commitment.

“Vaccines are the way out of this pandemic and I’d urge everyone – regardless of age, religion or beliefs – to get their jabs so we can beat this virus and reclaim all of our lost freedoms.”

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Why most people who now die with Covid in England have been vaccinated | David Spiegelhalter and Anthony Masters

The Guardian 27 June, 2021 - 02:00am

It could sound worrying that the majority of people dying in England with the now-dominant Delta (B.1.617.2) variant have been vaccinated. Does this mean the vaccines are ineffective? Far from it, it’s what we would expect from an effective but imperfect vaccine, a risk profile that varies hugely by age and the way the vaccines have been rolled out.

Consider the hypothetical world where absolutely everyone had received a less than perfect vaccine. Although the death rate would be low, everyone who died would have been fully vaccinated.

The vaccines are not perfect. PHE estimates two-dose effectiveness against hospital admission with the Delta infections at around 94%. We can perhaps assume there is at least 95% protection against Covid-19 death, which means the lethal risk is reduced to less than a twentieth of its usual value.

But the risk of dying from Covid-19 is extraordinarily dependent on age: it halves for each six to seven year age gap. This means that someone aged 80 who is fully vaccinated essentially takes on the risk of an unvaccinated person of around 50 – much lower, but still not nothing, and so we can expect some deaths.

The PHE report also reveals that nearly a third of deaths from the Delta variant are of unvaccinated people over 50, which may be surprising given high vaccine coverage; for example, OpenSAFELY estimates more than 93% among the 65-69s. But there are lower rates in deprived areas and for some ethnicities and communities with limited coverage will continue to experience more than their fair share of loss.

Coverage and effectiveness are important numbers for assessing vaccination programmes. It is better to look at cool analysis by analysts, rather than hot takes on social and other media.

David Spiegelhalter is chair of the Winton Centre for Risk and Evidence Communication at Cambridge. Anthony Masters is statistical ambassador for the Royal Statistical Society

More than 50 per cent of adult under-30s have had Covid jab

The Sun 26 June, 2021 - 04:12pm

News Corp is a network of leading companies in the worlds of diversified media, news, education, and information services.

More than 4.2million Brits aged 18 to 29 have had their first dose, just three weeks after the programme was opened to twenty-somethings.

Figures released today show how new ground has been broken as the NHS opened hundreds of walk-in services where people can be vaccinated without a booking.

Senior medics have urged those not yet protected to “grab a jab” this weekend.

NHS staff are pulling out all the stops to make jabs easier for young adults.

Vaccines Minister Nadhim Zahawi said: “This is a phenomenal achievement and it’s fantastic to see so many young people coming forward for their jabs, doing their bit to protect themselves and their loved ones.

“I’d like to recognise the herculean efforts of all those who are working tirelessly to vaccinate as many people as quickly as possible.

Vaccines are the way out of this pandemic and I’d urge everyone to get their jabs so we can beat this virus and reclaim all of our freedoms.”

As well as the walk-in centres, roving vaccination buses are operating in Dudley, in the West Midlands; Colchester, Essex; Ipswich, Suffolk; and at other towns and cities.

The NHS has also launched a new online service that lets people find their nearest walk-in centre for a jab.

More than a million bookings were made between Monday and Wednesday this week, as demand for the ­vaccine continues.

Over 63million vaccinations have been delivered by the NHS since making history when Margaret Keenan, 91, received the first in Coventry, just 200 days ago.

NHS England director of primary care Dr Nikki Kanani said: “If you are 18 and over, go along and grab a jab.

"With every vaccine in an arm, we are one step closer to our summer freedoms.”

The NHS is contacting people over 40 to bring forward their second dose in line with updated scientific advice.

Our journalists strive for accuracy but on occasion we make mistakes. For further details of our complaints policy and to make a complaint please click this link: thesun.co.uk/editorial-complaints/

Covid-19: 'Grab a jab' under way and Covid families' anger at Hancock

BBC News 26 June, 2021 - 01:50am

Stadiums, shopping centres and theatres are among hundreds of sites to join the "grab a jab" campaign in England this weekend in a bid to boost vaccine uptake. The walk-in vaccination centres means any adult will be able to get a Covid vaccine without an appointment. The Newcastle Eagles basketball arena, Watford's Vicarage Road and Birmingham's Edgbaston cricket ground are among sporting grounds opening their doors for people to get jabbed. Arsenal's Emirates Stadium is even offering free tours of the stadium as part of its Gunner Get Jabbed event. You can find a centre near you here.

Four women who stayed in quarantine hotels in the UK have told the BBC they were sexually harassed by guards working for security company G4S. Private security companies have been hired by the government to ensure hotel guests observe quarantine rules. But one woman says a guard mimed having sex while they were alone in a lift. Another says a guard asked for a "hug" and a selfie. G4S said it expected the highest standards of conduct from staff and investigated allegations of wrongdoing. You can read about the women's experiences here.

Families who have lost loved ones to Covid have warned Matt Hancock's breach of social distancing guidance when he kissed an aide could lead to people breaking coronavirus rules. The health secretary has apologised after pictures emerged of him with Gina Coladangelo. The Covid-19 Bereaved Families for Justice group has written to the prime minister urging him to sack Mr Hancock if he does not resign. Rivka Gottlieb, from the campaign group, told BBC Radio 4's The World Tonight: "If [Mr Hancock] were to announce another lockdown or further regulations why would anybody listen to someone who doesn't follow the rules themselves?" A Downing Street spokesman said Boris Johnson had accepted Mr Hancock's apology and considered the matter closed.

A Covid vaccine trial volunteer says he faces cancelling plans to celebrate his 70th birthday in France because he has been "disadvantaged" by taking part. Tom Williams from Denbigh said he was refused an approved jab after having the yet-to-be approved Novavax vaccine. The UK is on the French amber list, and only those fully vaccinated with an approved jab can travel for holidays. The UK government's Department of Health said it was would ensure volunteers were not disadvantaged. But Mr Williams said authorities should "recognise the fact that without volunteers on these research projects you wouldn't get the vaccines in the first place".

Whether it's a dance class, a work meeting or a doctor's appointment, technology has allowed many of us to do more from home during lockdown. But for Ruby Jones it's also allowed her to keep her first full-time job. The disability activist, who works for the University of Exeter's Student Union, lives with Ehlers-Danlos syndrome. The connective tissue disorder sometimes requires Ruby to use a wheelchair or crutches, and can also cause fatigue. She told the BBC: "I've done meetings from my bed with members of university senior management and I wouldn't have been in that room if it wasn't for the digital access." She said she created the hashtag #MyAccessiblePandemic on Twitter to highlight how the pandemic has improved accessibility for disabled people.

As walk-in vaccination centres open across England this weekend as part of a push to get all adults vaccinated by 19 July, do you know how soon can you have your second dose?

Find further information, advice and guides on our coronavirus page.

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It comes after a 2018 report highlighting a "major error" in the building's design was made public.

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