More than 20 million UK adults have received both doses of a COVID-19 vaccine.
Health services across the UK have now administered a total of 56,677,012 million vaccines between 8 December and 15 May, including 36,573,354 million people with their first dose (69.4%) and 20,103,658 million with their second (38.2%).
The government met its target of offering a vaccine to the most vulnerable by 15 April, and remains on track to offer a first dose to all adults by the end of July.
Health and Social Care Secretary Matt Hancock said:
“We have more great news about the vaccination rollout and are making extraordinary strides as 20 million people now have the fullest possible protection from this virus – huge thanks to the team for hitting this milestone.
“The latest real-world data has once again demonstrated how effective the vaccine is at providing life-saving protection, with two doses of the Pfizer vaccine providing 97% protection against mortality.
“Receiving a second dose is vital to ensure you have the ultimate protection from this deadly virus – I encourage everyone to book their jab as soon as they are offered it.
Vaccines Minister Nadhim Zahawi said:
“20 million people have received the strongest protection from this virus – another incredible milestone.
“It is inspiring to see the incredible public response to our call to arms to get the jab. We have one the highest vaccine uptake rates in the world, but our work is not done yet.
“It’s time to redouble our efforts on the second dose, so please come forward for the second jab as it could be a life-saving extra boost of protection.”
The milestone comes as government announces that appointments for a second dose of a vaccine will be brought forward from 12 to 8 weeks for the remaining people in the top nine priority groups yet to receive their second dose. This is to ensure people across the UK have the strongest possible protection from the virus at an earlier opportunity.
It is part of government’s plans to tackle rising cases of the B1.617.2 variant of concern first identified in India, as well as strengthened surge testing, genome sequencing and enhanced contact tracing measures deployed across the North West to control the spread.
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 vaccinated people are less likely to pass the virus to others.
Data from Public Health England’s real-world study shows the vaccines are already having a significant impact in the UK, reducing hospitalisations and deaths, saving more than 11,700 lives and preventing 33,000 hospitalisations in England by the end of April.
New PHE analysis shows that individuals who receive a single dose of the Oxford/AstraZeneca vaccine have approximately 80% lower risk of death with COVID-19 compared with unvaccinated individuals. The report also shows protection against death from the Pfizer-BioNTech vaccine rises from approximately 80% after one dose to 97% after two doses.
A separate new PHE report provides further evidence that the vaccine is highly effective in reducing the risk of hospitalisation, especially in older ages. For the over 80s, it is estimated that two doses of the Pfizer-BioNTech vaccine reduce the risk of hospitalisation by 93%.
ONS data published on 6 May found that more than 9 in 10 (93%) adults reported positive sentiment towards the vaccine.
All vaccines being used in the UK have met the independent Medicines and Healthcare products Regulatory Agency’s (MHRA) strict standards of safety, effectiveness and quality.
Rolling reviews are underway by the MHRA to assess the Janssen and Novavax vaccines.
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.
UK Government Minister for Scotland Iain Stewart said:
“This milestone underscores the incredible progress we are making right across the country in our fight against COVID-19.
“The UK government is supplying vaccines for people in all parts of the United Kingdom, and our fantastic NHS is working tirelessly to administer first and second doses.
“This is just one way the UK government is supporting every part of the country through the pandemic.”