MATT HANCOCK: I've danced a little jig at the joy the jab's giving 

1 month ago 8

By Matt Hancock For The Mail On Sunday

Published: 22:27 GMT, 13 February 2021 | Updated: 22:34 GMT, 13 February 2021

Just over two months ago, grandmother Margaret Keenan, then aged 90, received the world's first clinically authorised coronavirus vaccine at University Hospital, Coventry.

Since that magical day, more than 14.5 million people have joined Margaret in getting protected – that's over one in four adults across the country.

We have thrown everything at the vaccine rollout and the whole project has shown a can-do attitude at its best. Now we're homing in on our target of offering a vaccine to everyone in the four most vulnerable groups by tomorrow.

This monumental operation across all parts of the UK has given hope and comfort to so many families. Mine is no different, and I've danced a little jig as I've seen for myself the joy it can bring, as my grandfather, mum, dad, step-parents and in-laws and many loved ones have each in turn had their jabs these past few weeks.

Just over two months ago, grandmother Margaret Keenan, then aged 90, received the world's first clinically authorised coronavirus vaccine at University Hospital, Coventry

I'd like to thank everyone who has played a part in this exceptional national effort – demonstrating the best of British at our time of crisis.

I've been thrilled to see the level of enthusiasm people have shown to get protected, with nearly all over-70s having had their first dose. This is a take-up beyond my highest hopes.

Because we have made such huge strides in protecting those at greatest risk, we are now in a position to extend eligibility even further and offer invites to over- 65s this week.

This will mean that millions more people in England will be eligible for vaccines and benefit from the protection it provides. 

'I know people in their late 60s who have barely left the house for months and have been looking forward to this moment so much.

And meanwhile we will keep working to reach the people in the four most vulnerable groups who have not yet come forward.

If you live in England, are 70 and over and haven't yet got an appointment to get vaccinated, please contact the NHS, either online through the National Booking Service, or if you can't get online, by phoning 119.

Since that magical day, more than 14.5 million people have joined Margaret in getting protected – that's over one in four adults across the country. Pictured: Matt Hancock

I know there are some people who might have concerns. We're determined to do everything we can to address any questions about the vaccine because we know it is safe, and we want as many people to take up the life-saving chance to be protected against the Covid-19 virus.

This weekend the Government published the vaccine uptake plan, setting out how we will boost vaccine take-up in all our communities, with a particular focus on vulnerable and under-served groups.

This matters to us all. The fewer people who are left unprotected, the safer we will all be, and the more securely we will be able to release restrictions when the time is right.

This programme offers a clear pathway out of the pandemic. Meantime, while the vaccinators and volunteers do their work, we must all answer our country's call, and follow the rules that will keep this virus at bay.

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