All adults ‘may be vaccinated for coronavirus by early May, sources claim

Every adult in the UK could be offered a Covid jab by the beginning of May- months ahead of the government's official September target.

Whitehall sources have claimed it was a "realistic possibility" with some three million 65 to 69-year-olds set to receive letters asking them to book vaccine appointments from next week, the Mail Online reports.

A source reportedly said: "We are cautiously optimistic about the target now, and looking ahead to the next age groups. The priority is to ensure that everyone over 70 is offered the vaccine by the deadline, but we are now expecting to be able to start sending letters out to those in their 60s from next week."

But other insiders warned supply constraints would make it impossible to administer around 500,000 doses needed every day for the next 12 weeks.

Meanwhile, chief medical officer Chris Whitty has told the Prime Minister that the virus has passed its peak and has been on the decline for a week, according to the Telegraph.

New data shows the virus has fallen to pre-New Year levels in every region of England.

On Monday the UK recorded the fewest daily coronavirus deaths since December with Department of Health figures showing cases hitting a seven-week low of 18,607 positive tests.

But concerns are rising about the South African mutant strain, with a testing "surge" underway to find how widely it is spreading in communities.

  • South Africa variant symptoms – 15 warning signs and where it's been detected

And today scientists announced the Kent variant of coronavirus that has been spreading around the UK appears to be undergoing some worrying new genetic changes.

Tests on some samples show a mutation, called E484K, already seen in the South Africa and Brazil variants that are of concern.

Although this change may reduce vaccine effectiveness, the current ones in use should still work, say experts.

  • Covid tier system could be ditched in favour of nationwide rules, Boris Johnson hints

The UK has already stepped up measures to control the spread of new variants.

Urgent testing for the South Africa variant is starting in parts of England and travel restrictions have been introduced to stop more cases entering from abroad.

Meanwhile, Sage member Calum Semple warned this morning that the outbreak is still at a relatively high level and suggested March 8 could be too fast for reopening schools.

  • Piers Morgan slams 'vermin' Brits who trolled Captain Tom Moore after Covid diagnosis

He told BBC Radio 4: "The challenge here is that if you do open schools and everything else stays closed, then clearly you will get some increased transmission associated with schools as a whole and with the teenagers.

"And that will add to the problems of the so-called R number, so we really do need to get transmission down a lot further, in my opinion.

"Much, much further because we're still at very high levels of transmission within the community.

"It would be great if we can do it (open schools again) in about a few weeks' time but I personally don't think we're there yet."

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