More than 25 million people in the UK have received their first dose of a COVID-19 vaccine.
Figures out today show the UK health services vaccinated a total of 25,273,226 people between 8 December and 16 March with first doses of the Pfizer and Oxford/AstraZeneca vaccines, while 1,759,445 people have had their second dose.
This means almost half of the adult population (26.5 million) have already been vaccinated and will soon develop strong protection from serious illness, saving countless lives and significantly reducing pressure on the NHS.
Prime Minister Boris Johnson said:
“This latest milestone is an incredible achievement – representing 25 million reasons to be confident for the future as we cautiously reopen society.
“Thank you once again to the brilliant NHS, scientists, armed forces, volunteers, and all those who’ve helped our rollout.”
Health Secretary Matt Hancock said:
“This is an extraordinary feat, coming exactly 100 days after Margaret Keenan received the first authorised jab in the whole world.
“It has been a national mission, one of the one of the biggest logistical exercises since the war and I’d like to thank everyone who played their part, including every NHS vaccinator, GPs, pharmacists, volunteers and the armed forces for their crucial role in every corner of the UK.
“We’re ahead of schedule to offer a first dose to all in these groups by the 15 April and I urge everybody eligible to come forward.”
The rollout is continuing at pace and the UK is on track to achieve the Prime Minister’s target of offering the first dose of the vaccine to all over-50s by 15 April, as well as all adults by the end of July.
BT are marking the milestone with a message on the iconic BT Tower in London.
Vaccines Minister Nadhim Zahawi said:
“Vaccines are the best way to protect ourselves and our loved ones from this terrible virus and the UK vaccination programme is going from strength to strength.
“This is an incredible milestone and moves us one step closer to safely seeing our friends and family again.
“The vaccination programme will continue to expand over the coming weeks and more people will receive their second doses.”
All vaccines being used in the UK have undergone robust clinical trials and have met the Medicines and Healthcare products Regulatory Agency’s strict standards of safety, effectiveness and quality.
Data from Public Health England’s real-world study shows that both the Pfizer and Oxford-AstraZeneca vaccines are highly effective in reducing COVID-19 infections among older people aged 70 years and over.
The vaccines are available free of charge from thousands of vaccine centres, and through GPs and pharmacies. 98% of people live within 10 miles of a vaccination centre in England, which includes mosques, Westminster Abbey and football stadiums.
There is a total of 53 million adults in the UK and we expect to have vaccinated 26.5 million people – half of all UK adults – later this week.
PHE’s real-world data on the efficacy of Covid vaccines is available here.
Through the government’s Vaccines Taskforce, the UK has secured early access to 457 million doses of seven of the most promising vaccine candidates, including:
- BioNTech/Pfizer for 40 million doses
- Oxford/AstraZeneca for 100 million doses
- Moderna for 17 million doses
- GlaxoSmithKline and Sanofi Pasteur for 60 million doses
- Novavax for 60 million doses
- Janssen for 30 million doses
- Valneva for 100 million doses
- CureVac for 50 million doses
To date, the government has invested over £300 million into manufacturing a successful vaccine to enable a rapid roll out.
The UK government is committed to supporting equitable access to vaccines worldwide. The UK is the largest donor to the COVAX facility, the global mechanism to help developing countries access a coronavirus vaccine, and has committed £548 million in UK aid to help distribute 1.3 billion doses of coronavirus vaccines to 92 developing countries this year.