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At Tottenham Hotspur Stadium in north London, hundreds of young people joined the queue as jabs were dished out from 10am to 6pm yesterday. Tottenham stars of the past including Ossie Ardiles and Ledley King joined in to help. Stadiums in Bristol and Merseyside were also among those brought into action after a social media blitz.
Health chiefs thanked those who had come forward to do their bit.
Sir Simon Stevens, NHS chief executive, told the Daily Express: “We need everyone’s help to protect the country and we are so grateful to the many young people who have come forward so far, to either get their jab or to book in. By playing their part and getting protected, they are helping our country to save lives.
“If you have not been vaccinated yet please do take up the offer and if you know someone who has not yet done so please urge them to book a jab.
“The more of us who are vaccinated the safer we all are.”
Health Secretary Matt Hancock tweeted: “It’s great to see young people stepping up and playing their part in the national effort.”
Latest data showed more than 42.9 million people had received a first dose in the UK, accounting for 81.6 per cent of adults.
Some 31.3 million had received a second dose – almost three in five adults.
The vaccine booking figures for Friday and Saturday do not include appointments made through GP-led vaccination services or those jabbed at walk-in centres, meaning the true figure will be even higher.
Sir Simon added that the programme “continues in full swing as the finishing line comes into sight”.
He said: “It is fantastic to see so many young people coming forward to play their part, protecting themselves, their friends and their family – nearly nine million people in their 20s and 30s have now had their first dose.
“NHS staff are pulling out all the stops to get jabs in arms with pop-up sites in shopping centres and mass events at football stadiums all adding to the huge network of services that have now delivered more than 62 million lifesaving jabs.”
In a bid to reach as many young people as possible, the Government has joined forces with social media giants offering extra features such as stickers and photo filters in support of the vaccine programme.
Mr Hancock said: “I am delighted that Snapchat, Reddit, TikTok and YouTube are coming together to support the most successful vaccine effort in NHS history.
“The vaccine programme has put us on the road to recovery and I urge everyone to come forward for the offer, roll up their sleeves and join the millions that already have the fullest possible protection from two doses.”
Snapchat will also host a series of Q&A sessions with medical experts on the Prime Minister’s account to build confidence and tackle misinformation.
Reddit is hosting live “ask me anything” events with experts on its coronavirus forum. TikTok is offering “I’ve had my Covid vaccine” stickers for users to share and is supporting scientists and doctors to share information through videos.
In collaboration with the NHS, YouTube has rolled out a campaign with the tagline “Let’s Not Go Back” to remind its core 18-34 year old audience of the importance of getting the jab. Digital Secretary Oliver Dowden said: “Our vaccine rollout has been a great success and is now available to all adults.
“We have worked closely with social media platforms throughout the pandemic to promote life-saving vaccine information, and this new initiative with popular platforms will help drive take-up even higher.
“We are also tackling misinformation online through our Online Safety Bill to make sure people are not bombarded by harmful content.”
Vaccines Minister Nadhim Zahawi said: “The vaccine is our way out of this pandemic and we have made incredible progress so far with more than four in five adults receiving at least one dose and all adults being invited.
“I encourage everyone to get the jab. It could stop you becoming seriously ill and protect your loved ones.”
A further 9,284 cases of Covid were confirmed yesterday, lower than on the previous three days, but up 24 percent compared to the previous Sunday. Six coronavirus deaths were reported, down slightly from eight a week earlier.
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