Three-quarters of adults will have received at least one Covid vaccine within days – and nearly half will be vaccinated with both doses by the end of the week.
As the latest milestones in the approach of Britain’s extraordinary vaccination program, official figures yesterday showed 39,068,346 people had their first vaccine and 24,892,416 had the second.
While Health Secretary Matt Hancock praised the “fantastic progress”, the number of Covid patients treated in hospital continued to decline despite an increase in cases involving the Indian variant. Only 870 people with coronavirus are being treated in UK hospitals – the lowest figure since mid-September.
Official figures showed yesterday that 39,068,346 people had their first shot in Britain
But deaths and hospital admissions have increased slightly. In the past seven days, 59 Covid-related deaths have been recorded, up 44% from the previous week, and 870 new hospital admissions, up 23%.
Cases have also increased 23% week over week, with 21,469 recorded in the past seven days.
However, fears that the vaccination campaign may be hampered by reluctance or apathy towards vaccination among younger groups appear unfounded. More than half of those in their 30s in England are already stung, even though the invitations to this group were sent out only a fortnight ago.
Sir Simon Stevens, Managing Director of NHS England, said: “This success is no fluke, but the result of months of careful planning and the hard work and dedication of NHS staff. “
Health Secretary Matt Hancock hailed ‘fantastic progress’ in immunization program
It comes as Chancellor Rishi Sunak has said he is uncertain whether the full lifting of Covid restrictions, scheduled for June 21, will happen. In an interview with The Mail on Sunday, he said: “We will know more as the date approaches. But he said he was convinced the economy would rebound from the £ 140 billion in savings accumulated during the lockdown.
Mr Hancock urged those eligible for vaccination, who include the vast majority of adults, to accept the offer, adding: “Vaccines save lives, are safe, effective and enable us to emerge from this devastating pandemic. “
The rapid pace means ministers are increasingly confident they will reach the goal of delivering a first shot to everyone over 18 by the end of July. They are now considering a fall booster campaign in which those over 50 could receive a third injection – potentially of a different vaccine than the one they have already received.
The idea is to provide broader protection against Covid by “mixing and matching” one vaccine such as Pfizer or AstraZeneca with another.
One of eight vaccines being tested in a government-funded “VOC-Boost” trial in a third vaccine is the Janssen single-injection vaccine, which was approved by the Medicines and Medicines Regulatory Agency on Friday. health products. It was 85% effective in stopping severe Covid disease in trials.
A government source said some of the 20 million doses of Janssen ordered could be used as boosters if the trial was successful.
Meanwhile, it was claimed last night that ministers did not disclose the presence of the Indian variant in the UK for a fortnight after being alerted. The Sunday Times reported that Public Health England sounded the alarm on April 1, but no official statement was made until April 15. India was not placed on the “red list” for travel until April 23.
He said that in those three weeks more than 20,000 passengers flew to Britain from India.