More than 600,000 people in the UK have received the first dose of the Pfizer/BioNTech Covid-19 vaccine as part of the largest vaccination programme in British history.
The government has today published figures which show the number of people who have received the vaccine between 8 December and 20 December in the UK is 616,933.
The UK Government has procured doses on behalf of the entire UK. The number of people who have received their first dose of the vaccine in each of the four nations is:
- England 521,594
- Scotland 56,676
- Wales 22,595
- Northern Ireland 16,068
In line with advice from the Joint Committee on Vaccination and Immunisation (JCVI), vaccines have been administered to care home residents, those aged 80 and over and health and social care staff through over 500 vaccination sites across the UK. The vaccination programme will continue at pace over Christmas.
The vaccine roll out in care homes in England began on Wednesday 16 December, with hundreds of residents vaccinated across seven care homes in Slough, Aintree, Herne Bay, Thanet, Chalfont St Peter, Droitwich and Cheltenham, as well as Chelsea Pensioners.
Larger care homes with 50-70 beds will be prioritised at first, with around 2,900 care homes of this size in England.
Over the coming weeks and months the rate of vaccination will increase as more doses become available and the programme continues to expand, with more vaccines being delivered direct to care homes.
Health and Social Care Secretary Matt Hancock said:
“Thanks to a huge effort from the NHS to overcome significant logistical challenges, 616,933 people across the UK have had their jab of the coronavirus vaccine.
“In just over three weeks, the NHS in every part of the UK has already set up hundreds of vaccination sites to ensure those most in need can receive their jab as quickly as possible.
“This is just the beginning and we are continually expanding our vaccination programme to help everyone get back to normal in the future.”
Figures on vaccination uptake for the UK will be published on a weekly basis from today on the PHE Coronavirus data dashboard.
The Pfizer/BioNTech vaccine was the first vaccine to be authorised for use by the medicines regulator, the Medicines and Healthcare products Regulatory Agency (MHRA). Patients require two doses of the vaccine for the vaccine to be at its most effective. Thanks to the work of the government’s Vaccines Taskforce, 40 million doses of the Pfizer/BioNTech vaccine have been secured for the whole of the UK.
Rolling reviews on the Oxford/AstraZeneca, Moderna and other vaccine candidates are underway and, if authorised by the MHRA, will mean there are more doses available to vaccinate those in need.
Vaccine Deployment Minister Nadhim Zahawi said:
“I am extremely proud the UK is the first country in the world to roll out the Pfizer/BioNTech Covid-19 vaccine and protect the most vulnerable from this awful disease.
“The NHS across the UK is working incredibly hard to scale up the vaccination programme as fast as they can to make sure everyone on the priority list can get their vaccine easily.”