THE race is on to give an extra one million Brits Covid jabs as the shielding list is extended.
More “clinically vulnerable” people will be bumped up the list to get the vaccine as their status changes, the HSJ reports.
Letters reportedly sent out to GP surgeries yesterday said the clinically vulnerable group should now shield until March 31.
The initial end date for people told to shield was February 21.
The letter from NHSE, the Department of Health and Social Care and NHS Digital to GPs said: “[A] new data-driven risk assessment… has been developed to help identify people who may be at high risk from Covid-19.
“It has been used at a national level to help identify an additional group of patients with specific multiple risk factors which, combined, may put them at similar risk to those who are clinically extremely vulnerable to severe outcomes.
“As a precautionary measure, this group will now be added to the shielded patient list (SPL), on the advice of the chief medical officer.”
It is not clear exactly how many people will be eligible for an earlier vaccine, but it is thought to be in the region of one million.
Everyone affected is not in group six in the rollout, which includes people aged 18 to 65 who are “clinically vulnerable”.
They are just below the five million “extremely clinically vulnerable” shielding Brits who were offered the coronavirus vaccine from January 18.
The new shielders will be contacted by their GP once they have been identified and invited for a vaccine.
The jab list, determined by the JCVI (Joint Committee on Vaccination and Immunisation) put the elderly and care workers at the top of the list.
So far over 15 million Brits have received a first dose of either the Oxford/AstraZeneca jab or the Pfizer/BioNTech offering, with over half a million having received their second.
The pledge came as PM Boris Johnson said last night the lifting of lockdown would be “cautious but irreversible” so families and businesses can have certainty.
Daily Covid cases have plummeted to the lowest number since October.
He added that Brits should be patient but optimistic their lives will soon be set on a gradual path back to normality.
Britain’s world-leading vaccine programme has smashed its target to vaccinate 15million by mid-February.
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But Boris said there should be no “ease-up” and the nation must power on to immunise all 32million over-50s by the end of April.
NHS England boss Sir Simon Stevens pledged to double jab numbers to hit the milestone – meaning they could hit a million a day.
The PM hailed the “unprecedented national achievement” on vaccines — but warned: “It is no moment to relax.”