More than three in five adults in the UK have received a second dose of a COVID-19 vaccine, securing the fullest possible protection, as the vaccination programme continues at unprecedented pace and scale.
With 75,188,795 million doses administered in total, 43,448,680 million people across the UK have now been vaccinated with a first dose (82.5%), while 31,740,115 million people have had both doses (60.3%).
Recent analysis by Public Health England (PHE) shows that COVID-19 vaccines are highly effective against hospitalisation from the Delta (B.1.61.2) variant. The analysis suggests the Pfizer-BioNTech vaccine is 96% effective and the Oxford-AstraZeneca vaccine is 92% effective against hospitalisation after both doses.
The government met its target of offering a vaccine to the most vulnerable by 15 April and is on track to offer a first dose to all adults by 19 July, two weeks earlier than planned. NHS England has extended the offer of a vaccine to everyone aged 18 and over.
By 19 July, all those aged 40 and over and the clinically extremely vulnerable, who received their first dose by mid-May, will have been offered their second dose.
Health and Social Care Secretary Matt Hancock said:
“The vaccination team have been working incredibly hard to provide people with much-needed protection from this life-threatening disease.
“With more and more evidence emerging on just how effective two doses of our vaccines are in protecting against the Delta variant, it’s a great to see three in five adults have been double jabbed, so we’re well on our way to the whole country getting the fullest possible protection.
“We’re so close now to ensuring the entire adult population is protected – now everyone aged 18 and above can make an appointment, so make sure you book in for your first and second doses as soon as possible.”
The successful vaccination programme is weakening the link between cases and hospitalisations. The latest evidence shows that two doses are needed to provide effective protection against the Delta variant.
To ensure people have the fullest possible protection against COVID-19, second doses for all over 40s will be accelerated by reducing the dosing interval from 12 weeks to eight weeks.
The move follows advice from the independent experts at the Joint Committee on Vaccination and Immunisation (JCVI), which has considered the latest available evidence and has recommended reducing the dosing interval to counter the threat of new variants of concern.
The government and its scientific experts are monitoring the evolving situation and rates of variants closely, and will not hesitate to take additional action as necessary.
Vaccines Minister, Nadhim Zahawi said:
“Two doses of a COVID-19 vaccine are absolutely vital in ensuring the fullest possible protection the jabs have to offer – it’s extraordinary that three in five people have now been vaccinated with both jabs.
“No matter where you live, where you come from, your background or your beliefs – provided you are over 18, there is a vaccine available to you. I urge everyone eligible to get their jab and help us get back to normality.”
Vaccinated people are far less likely to get COVID-19 with symptoms. Vaccinated people are even more unlikely to get serious COVID-19, to be admitted to hospital, or to die from it and there is growing evidence that they are less likely to pass the virus to others.
Data from PHE’s real-world study shows the vaccines are already having a significant impact in the UK, reducing hospitalisations and deaths, saving over 14,000 lives and preventing over 42,000 hospitalisations in England.
Data published by YouGov shows the UK continues to top the list of nations where people are willing to have a COVID-19 vaccine or have already been vaccinated.
ONS data published on 9 June, shows that more than 9 in 10 (94%) adults reported positive sentiment towards the vaccine.
Approved vaccines are available from thousands of NHS vaccine centres, GP practices and pharmacies. Around 98% of people live within 10 miles of a vaccination centre in England and vaccinations are taking place at sites including mosques, community centres and football stadiums.