More than four in five adults in the UK have received their first dose of a COVID-19 vaccine, as the vaccination programme continues at unprecedented pace and scale.
With 72,891,861 doses administered in total, 42,216,654 people across the UK have now been vaccinated with a first dose (80%), while 30,675,207 people have had both doses (58%).
New analysis by Public Health England (PHE) shows for the first time that two doses of 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.
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:
“Now that four in five adults in the UK have received their first dose of a COVID-19 vaccine and more than half of adults have had a second jab, we are entering the final furlong in our race against the virus.
“Vaccines save lives and have enabled us to restore many freedoms that we cherish. To allow us to ease restrictions fully, it is more important than ever that people come forward for their jabs when eligible and book a second dose to receive the fullest possible protection.
“We’re accelerating our vaccine programme by reducing the time between doses for all people aged 40 and over to eight weeks and the NHS will open invites for everyone aged 18 and above later this week. So if you get the call, get the jab to fight this virus.”
Our 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 strongest 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:
“The UK has reached yet another important milestone on the road to recovery by vaccinating four in five of the UK adult population with a first dose.
“The NHS continues to work tirelessly to save lives through the largest vaccination programme in its proud history. It is vital people continue to come forward when eligible as we redouble our efforts to offer second doses and provide the fullest possible protection.”
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 14,000 lives and preventing 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.