More than 4.25 million people in the UK have received their first dose of a COVID-19 vaccine as part of the largest vaccination programme in British history.
The NHS vaccinated a total of 4,266,577 million people between 8 December and 18 January, including more than half of those aged 80 and over and more than half of elderly care home residents.
This is more than double the number of vaccinations, per person per day, than any European country and is a significant step towards hitting the target of offering vaccines to the top four priority groups by the middle of February.
Speaking at a press conference yesterday, the British Health Secretary said: “This is the biggest medical deployment in British history and it’s one of the biggest civilian operations that this country’s ever undertaken.
“We’re on track to deliver our plan to vaccinate the most vulnerable groups by the middle of February, the groups that account for 88% of COVID deaths.
“Our approach is, of course, to save as many lives as possible – as quickly as possible and to reduce the pressure on the NHS.”
Letters have been sent to those aged 70 and over and the clinically extremely vulnerable in England inviting them to get their vaccinations as the NHS begins roll out to the next two priority groups.
The NHS has so far been working to vaccinate the first two priority cohorts recommended by the Joint Committee on Vaccination and Immunisation (JCVI), which are care home residents and staff, and those aged 80 and over and frontline health and care staff.
Vaccinating the first two groups will remain the priority, but vaccination sites which have enough supply and capacity for vaccinating further people are allowed to offer vaccinations to the next two cohorts – those aged 70 and over and clinically extremely vulnerable people.
The vaccination programme continues to expand, with large-scale vaccination centres now on stream across the country.
The government and NHS are also urging people to play their part in the historic programme by:
- Helping out: help those aged 80 and over by supporting friends, family and loved ones with their appointments, as well as volunteering to help those in the community.
- Joining up: sign up to clinical trials for COVID-19 vaccines and treatments.
- Staying informed: keep up to date with accurate and trusted NHS advice and make sure to share facts with friends and family.
The daily vaccination statistics are published daily on the COVID-19 dashboard here.