More than 20 million UK adults have received both doses of a Covid-19 vaccine
The Government has hailed the latest milestone in the roll-out of the vaccination programme.
Health services across the UK administered a total of 56,677,012 million vaccines between December 8 last year and May 15, the Department for Health and Social Care (DHSC) said on Sunday.
This figures includes 36,573,354 people with their first dose (69.4 per cent of the total) and 20,103,658 with their second (38.2 per cent).
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 Government has now announced appointments for a second dose are being brought down to eight weeks from 12 for people in the top nine priority groups.
This is part of plans to tackle rising cases of the B1.617.2 variant of concern first identified in India.
Surge testing, genome sequencing and enhanced contact tracing measures have also been deployed across the North West to control the spread.
The Government says vaccinated people are far less likely to get Covid-19 with symptoms and arre even more unlikely to get serious Covid-19, to be admitted to hospital, or to die from it.
The DHSC also says there is growing evidence to suggest that vaccinated people are less likely to pass the virus to others.
Data from Public Health England (PHE) 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 per cent 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 per cent after one dose to 97 per cent 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 per cent.
ONS data published on 6 May found that more than 9 in 10 (93 per cent) of adults reported positive sentiment towards the vaccine.
All the 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, the DHSC said.
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 per cent 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.
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