The bid to vaccinate Shropshire against Covid has taken another major step forward with the NHS offering jabs for the over-45s.
The latest announcement comes as the government confirmed that all those over 50 have now been offered the jab.
It continues the remarkable operation to vaccinate the population against Covid, with 177,293 people in Shropshire having already received their first dose, and 88,435 in Telford & Wrekin. In Powys 84,300 have received their first dose.
The NHS invitation signals the start of “Phase 2” of the programme – which involves offering vaccines to healthy adults aged under 50.
Rachel Robinson, Shropshire Council’s director of public health, said: “We have seen a fantastic take-up of the vaccine across Shropshire.
“The fact that everyone aged 45 years and older is now eligible for the vaccine is really positive news. I would urge anyone who is eligible to book their appointment as soon as possible.
"The vaccine is safe and effective, and taking up the offer of a vaccine when offered is our best route out of the pandemic.”
Shropshire GP Dr Mary McCarthy also urged everyone offered the jab to accept it. She said: “Take it. If you are offered the vaccination you should definitely take it because the risks from Covid are far greater.”
She also encouraged people to take the first vaccine they are offered, and not to ask for different versions.
Telford & Wrekin Council leader Councillor Shaun Davies welcomed the development, but also urged the NHS to give flexibility to local vaccination programmes to continue vaccinating younger age groups when they have completed the over-45s.
He said: “I don’t want to see a situation where we get this done in two weeks and have to stop before we start the over-40s.”