More than 30 million people in the UK – more than half of the adult population – have received their first Covid-19 vaccine.
The milestone comes as Britain’s premier vaccination effort gains momentum next month with the arrival of a third vaccine.
But France – although it is far behind in its vaccination campaign – will catch up with Britain “in a few weeks,” President Emmanuel Macron said today.
Confident: President Emmanuel Macron
Only 11.7% of French adults – 6.1 million – have received one or more strokes, compared to 57% of UK adults who received their first stroke – some 30,151,287 people.
In addition, 3.5 million Britons have had their second doses.
Health Secretary Matt Hancock said last night: “I am absolutely delighted that more than 30 million people have now received the blow across the UK.
“The vaccine saves lives and is our way out of this pandemic,” he said, adding, “When you get the call, take the hit. “
Mr Macron said France had stepped up the pace of the inoculation considerably and suggested the British campaign may soon struggle.
“In a few weeks we will have completely caught up with the British, who will be increasingly dependent on us to vaccinate their population,” he said. It seems to refer to stocks of AstraZeneca vaccine that are produced in EU member states. The EU has threatened to ban pharmaceutical companies from exporting coronavirus vaccines to Britain and other well-stocked countries until they honor promised deliveries to the bloc – a threat mainly directed against AstraZeneca, based in the UK.
French Foreign Minister Jean-Yves Le Drian suggested on Friday that Britain, which has prioritized distributing the first doses of the vaccine to as many people as possible, would struggle to get the second doses she needed for full protection.
But Culture Secretary Oliver Dowden insisted the government would meet its goal of giving all adults a shot by July. And he said he could guarantee everyone will get a second dose within 12 weeks of the first one.
“We’ve been planning this all along,” the minister told Sky’s Sophy Ridge on Sunday.
“This is one of the most important considerations when deploying the vaccine.” On the BBC’s Andrew Marr show, he said: “You will have seen the ups and downs – we were going a few weeks ago, there has been a bit of a slowdown now.
“But that does not undermine our confidence that we will be able to meet the needs of this crucial group, the over 50s, by mid-April, and then for the rest of the adult population by the end of July.” . “
Suggestions that the UK would donate some of its Covid vaccines to Ireland were played down yesterday on the grounds that there are none to spare. A government spokesperson said: “We currently have no vaccine surplus, but we will consider how these will be allocated as they become available. “
Despite the NHS warning of a significant reduction in available jabs in England next month due to a delay in AstraZeneca shipments from India and tensions in the EU, the first shipment of the Moderna jab is expected happen next month, adding half a million doses to the national vaccine. tank.
The Moderna vaccine has been approved for use in the UK and will be the third launched after Pfizer and AstraZeneca (file image)
The Moderna vaccine has been approved for use in the UK and will be the third launched after Pfizer and AstraZeneca.
Mr Dowden said adding Moderna to existing vaccine stocks would be a relief for the global rollout.
The situation in France worsened yesterday as the country recorded an additional 42,619 infections – several times the target of 5,000 daily cases Mr Macron set at the end of last year. It comes a week after a third of the French population was placed in some form of loose lockdown.
Critical care doctors in Paris say the surge in coronavirus infections could soon overwhelm their ability to treat the sick in hospitals in the capital, possibly forcing them to choose which patients they treat.