The NHS vaccine rollout continues with officials being told that Thursday was the “most likely” date that the next age group would be offered a jab,
Anyone 38 or older by July 1 should be able to book an appointment and may receive a text message in the coming days.
Last week, the Joint Committee on Vaccination and Immunisation (JCVI) said there is an “extremely small risk” of people suffering blood clots after having the jab, but the risk of illness with Covid-19 also drops for younger people as infection rates fall across the country.
While the balance of benefit and risk for the AstraZeneca vaccine is very favourable for older people, it is more finely balanced for younger groups, who do not tend to suffer serious coronavirus illness.
Experts have also assessed the risks from any third wave of Covid in the UK and concluded that that wave is likely to be smaller than previously anticipated, therefore the risks to younger people are lower.
The Prime Minister told MPs the inquiry will begin in spring 2022 and will place “the state’s actions under the microscope”.
The inquiry will be able to take oral evidence under oath, he said, adding that the state has an obligation “to learn every lesson for the future”.
Speaking in the Commons, Mr Johnson outlined the impact of the pandemic so far and added: “Amid such tragedy the state has an obligation to examine its actions as rigorously and as candidly as possible, and to learn every lesson for the future – which is why I’ve always said when the time is right there should be a full and independent inquiry.
“So, I can confirm today that the Government will establish an independent public inquiry on a statutory basis, with full powers under the Inquiries Act 2005 – including the ability to compel the production of all relevant materials and take oral evidence in public under oath.”
Meanwhile, a damning report from the Independent Panel for Pandemic Preparedness and Response, commissioned by the World Health Organisation (WHO), said a quicker international response could have stopped the 2019 Covid-19 outbreak in China becoming a global catastrophe.