Over 40 million people in the UK have received their first dose of a COVID-19 vaccine, the latest figures show today, as the UK’s vaccination programme continues at pace.
Health services across the UK have now administered a total of 67,287,864 vaccines between 8 December and 05 June, including 40,124,229 people with first doses [76.2%] and 27,160,635 people with both doses [51.6%] ensuring they have the strongest possible protection against COVID-19 from a second dose.
A recent study by Public Health England (PHE) shows that two doses of the COVID-19 vaccines are highly effective against the B.1.617.2 (Delta) variant first identified in India. Vaccine effectiveness against symptomatic disease from the B.1.617.2 (Delta) variant is similar after two doses compared to the B.1.1.7 (Alpha) variant dominant in the UK, and we expect to see even higher levels of effectiveness against hospitalisation and death.
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. NHS England has extended the offer of a vaccine to everyone over the age of 30.
Health and Social Care Secretary Matt Hancock said:
“It is an astonishing achievement to deliver over 40 million first doses in under six months. In all corners of the UK, people are rolling up their sleeves when their time comes to protect themselves and the people around them.
“It seems with every day we pass another major vaccination milestone on the road back to recovery. Over three quarters of adults have received a first dose and over half of adults have now been vaccinated with the life-saving second dose.
“I pay tribute to the tireless work of the NHS, volunteers and armed forces in building this momentum – but our work is not yet done. I encourage everyone who is eligible to join the millions who have the fullest possible protection from this virus by getting their jab when the time comes.”
Last week, the Medicines and Healthcare products Regulatory Agency (MHRA) announced that Janssen’s COVID-19 vaccine was authorised for use in the UK. It is expected doses will become available later this year. The single-dose vaccine was shown to be 67 per cent effective overall in preventing COVID-19 infection and 85% effective in preventing severe disease or hospitalisation.
To ensure people have the strongest possible protection against COVID-19, appointments for second doses have been brought forward from 12 to 8 weeks for the remaining people in the top nine priority groups who have yet to receive both doses.
The move follows updated 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:
“Our vaccination programme, the biggest and most successful in NHS history, has now delivered over 40 million first doses into arms – a fantastic achievement.
“I am incredibly proud of everyone involved who have worked tirelessly to help us reach milestone after milestone. It is time to redouble our efforts on the second dose, to ensure everyone has maximum protection.
“The offer is open to everyone over the age of 30, so when you’re eligible, get the jab. It could save your life and protect your loved ones.”
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