ANOTHER 1.7million Brits have been told to shield, and the 800,000 of them who are yet to get a Covid jab will be prioritised for vaccinations.
And in a blow for hopes lockdown could soon be eased, people shielding have been told to stay home until March 31 at the earliest.
Of the 1.7million new people told to shield, 800,000 are yet to receive their first Covid jab and the race is now on to vaccinate them.
Dr Jenny Harries today said the group will receive the additional support including medicine deliveries, priority slots for supermarkets and statutory sick pay.
She said: “We have a new, evidence-based, data-driven, predictive risk model which allows us to identify adults with multiple risk factors that make them more vulnerable to Covid-19.
“We can now identify additional people and help protect them now and in the future.
“For the first time, we are able to go even further in protecting the most vulnerable in our communities.
“This new model is a tribute to our health and technology researchers. The model’s data-driven approach to medical risk assessment will help the NHS identify further individuals who may be at high risk from COVID-19 due to a combination of personal and health factors.”
Those within this group who are over 70 will have already been invited for vaccination and 820,000 adults between 19 and 69 years will now be prioritised for a vaccination.
Around 2.2 million people are currently on the list in England, many of whom were identified for a single reason, such as specific cancers, people on immunosuppression drugs or those with severe respiratory conditions.
NEW PRIORITY GROUPS
The additional 1.7 million will bring the number on the list to almost four million.
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.
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.”