/UK passes 32m first Covid vaccination target figure days ahead of 15 April deadline

UK passes 32m first Covid vaccination target figure days ahead of 15 April deadline

The UK has passed the figure of 32 million first vaccinations, equal to the estimated number of people most vulnerable to coronavirus to whom the government promised to offer a jab by 15 April.

The milestone came as second doses of the Covid-19 vaccines hit a daily record of 450,136, bringing the total with two jabs to 6,991,310 – more than 10 per cent of the population.

The Department of Health and Social Care did not claim the 32 million milestone as representing the target being reached.

But vaccines minister Nadhim Zahawi retweeted a social media post describing the figure as a “landmark”, in a clear indication that he regards it as a mark of the success of the programme.

A deparment spokesperson said: “Our vaccination programme continues to make phenomenal progress – with over 38 million vaccines administered so far. 

“We remain on course to offer a first vaccine to all those aged 50 and over by mid-April and all adults by the end of July.”

The estimate of 32 million was given by ministers for the priority groups 1-9 recommended by the Joint Committee on Vaccination and Immunisation as most at risk of serious illness or death.

Made up of the over-50s, health and care workers and people with certain underlying conditions, they represent around 99 per cent of preventable mortality from Covid-19.

An increase of 106,878 new first doses was reported, bringing the number to have received at least one inoculation jab to 32,010,244 – 47.9 per cent of the UK population.

However, many of these will be outside the priority groups 1-9, for instance volunteers at vaccine stations who have been offered spare doses left over at the end of the day.

The lack of official fanfare at the milestone figure being passed may reflect orders to ministers not to make announcements during the period of mourning for the Duke of Edinburgh, who died on Friday.

Official figures recorded 40 deaths reported within 28 days of a positive test, bringing the total since the start of the pandemic to 127,080. Fatalities for the last seven days stood at 254, unchanged from the previous week.

Another 2,589 positive tests were reported in the latest 24-hour period, with the seven-day total of 18,970 almost a third (32 per cent) down on the week before.

Following a dip in vaccine supplies, NHS England has temporarily ceased first appointments for healthy people under the age of 50, while the programme focuses on delivering second doses to those who had their first jab between December and March.

Original Source