In a target set by British Health Secretary Sajid Javid, all children between the age of 16 to 17 in the United Kingdom will be offered their first COVID-19 vaccine dose by August 23, according to media reports. 

On Sunday, Javid opined that offering young people the vaccine by the aforementioned date would allow the teenagers the necessary two weeks to build maximum immunity before returning to school in September.

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“I have asked the NHS in England to ensure they offer a first dose of the vaccine to everyone aged 16 and 17 by next Monday, Aug. 23, this will make sure everybody has the opportunity to get vital protection before returning to college or sixth form”, Javid said in a statement on Sunday, according to Reuters input.

Britain has suffered more than 130,000 deaths within 28 days of a positive COVID-19 test, the second-highest total in Europe after Russia and one of the highest in the world, Reuters reported.

However, Prime Minister Boris Johnson’s government has recently eased COVID-related restrictions and Britain is gearing up to enjoy holidays. Johnson argues that the broad roll-out of vaccinations had largely broken the link between infections and subsequent hospitalisation and death.

More than three-quarters of British adults have received two doses of a COVID-19 vaccine, and 89% have received at least one.

“NHS England has launched a new online walk-in site finder to help 16- and 17-year-olds locate the nearest available centre. Further sites will come online over the coming days and weeks”, the Department of Health said on Sunday.

Scientists, however, have warned the public to not be complacent as high levels of infections in the community could likely lead to yet another spike in the cases during fall.

This is because vaccines are proven to be less effective against the COVID-19 delta variant which is now dominant across the UK. The delta variant is more transmissible, this means that the nation needs a much higher level of vaccination to gain control over its widespread.