More than 45m adults have now had their first Covid vaccine
More than 45 million adults in the UK have now been vaccinated with a first dose, thanks to a hugely encouraging rapid uptake from young people, the Government has said.
With 78,254,768 doses administered in total, 45,013,503 people across the UK have now been vaccinated with a first dose (85.5%), while 33,241,265 people have had both doses (63.1%), giving them the fullest possible protection.
The success of the vaccination programme is weakening the link between cases and hospitalisations. The latest analysis from Public Health England (PHE) and the University of Cambridge suggests that vaccines have so far prevented an estimated 7.2 million infections and 27,000 deaths in England alone.
The government met its target of offering a vaccine to the most vulnerable by 15 April and is on track to offer a first dose to all adults by 19 July, two weeks earlier than planned.
NHS England has extended the offer of a vaccine to everyone aged 18 and over. By 19 July, all those aged 40 and over and the clinically extremely vulnerable, who received their first dose by mid-May, will have been offered their second dose.
Health and Social Care Secretary Sajid Javid said: “This is a phenomenal achievement with 45 million adults now receiving their first dose.
“Vaccines are the way out of this pandemic and we know they are breaking the link between cases and hospitalisations, with more than 27,000 lives saved and 7.2 million infections prevented in England alone so far.
“It is hugely encouraging to see millions of young people coming forward so quickly for their jabs and it’s absolutely crucial everybody comes forward for their first and second doses as soon as possible so we can put this pandemic behind us.”
Data from Public Health England (PHE) shows that COVID-19 vaccines are highly effective against hospitalisation from the Delta (B.1.617.2) variant. The analysis suggests the Pfizer-BioNTech vaccine is 96% effective and the Oxford-AstraZeneca vaccine is 92% effective against hospitalisation after two doses.
Vaccines Minister Nadhim Zahawi said: “Every vaccine administered means another person has extra protection against this awful virus, and could be the difference between life and death.
“I want to thank the NHS, volunteers, GPs, pharmacists and civil servants for their unwavering dedication to delivering the largest and most successful vaccination programme in our history.
“Every adult is now eligible for vaccines - please take up the offer as soon as possible to protect yourself and your loved ones.”
Vaccinated people are far less likely to get COVID-19 with symptoms and even more unlikely to get serious COVID-19, to be admitted to hospital, or to die from it and there is growing evidence that they are less likely to pass the virus to others.
Second doses for all over 40s have been accelerated by reducing the dosing interval from twelve weeks to eight weeks, to ensure people have the fullest possible protection against COVID-19.
The move follows 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.
YouGov polling also shows the UK continues to top the list of nations where people are willing to have a COVID-19 vaccine or have already been vaccinated and ONS data published on 2 July shows that more than 9 in 10 (96%) adults reported positive sentiment towards the vaccine.
Vaccines are available free of charge and from thousands of 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.