Matt Hancock to make Covid announcement as all over-50s told to get jab

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Health Secretary Matt Hancock is set to make a coronavirus announcement at 5pm on Wednesday.

The announcement comes on the day Prime Minister Boris Johnson said he would soon be having the AstraZeneca jab as the NHS began inviting all over-50s to get a vaccine.

Mr Johnson said he is due to have his Covid-19 vaccine shortly and said it will be the Oxford/AstraZeneca jab developed in the UK.

In a show of support for the job, which more than a dozen European countries have stopped using, the Prime Minister told MPs: "I think perhaps the best thing I can say about the Oxford/AstraZeneca vaccine programme is that I finally got news that I'm going to have my own jab very shortly, I'm pleased to discover.

"It will certainly be Oxford/AstraZeneca that I will be having."

All over 50s in England are now able to get an appointment for a coronavirus jab on the NHS booking system.

Experts have said previously that once everyone over the age of 50 and those clinically vulnerable have been vaccinated, the Covid-19 death rate will plummet.

Professor Andrew Hayward, who sits on SAGE, said: "Once the most vulnerable people, particularly those over 50 and with chronic illnesses, are vaccinated then yes I think we can see a significant return to normality."

Many European countries have halted administering the AstraZeneca vaccine over fears it may be linked to blood clots.

The decision by those countries was branded "baffling" by Dr Michael Head, senior research fellow in global health at the University of Southampton.

Professor Jeremy Brown, from the UK’s Joint Committee on Vaccination and Immunisation, said people across Europe will die from Covid-19 as a direct consequence of the decision to halt the AstraZeneca rollout.

He told Good Morning Britain: "There is the concern that what’s happening in Europe might make people in the UK less confident in the AstraZeneca vaccine, unnecessarily so, because it’s perfectly safe.

"By not using the vaccine, this is going to directly lead to an increased incidence of Covid infection and people will die as a consequence of these decisions."

Ahead of his briefing on Wednesday evening, Mr Hancock said: "I'm delighted we are now expanding the rollout and inviting those aged 50 and over to book their jab.

"I'm determined no one should miss out on the chance to protect themselves and urge everyone who is eligible to come forward."

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