More than 40 million coronavirus vaccine doses have now been given in the UK.
The figure includes both first and second doses of the vaccine, so the total number of people who have received a jab will be lower.
Health Secretary Matt Hancock tweeted this afternoon: ‘We’ve reached another significant milestone in our national effort – 40 million vaccine doses have been administered across the UK. Huge thanks to the whole team involved.’
Today marked another important date for the vaccine roll-out, as those aged between 45 and 49 are now eligible to get their jab.
It signals the start of the second phase of the vaccination programme, which involves offering vaccines to healthy adults under the age of 50.
Until now the NHS in England had only offered vaccines to those at highest risk, including people over the age of 50 and people deemed to be ‘clinically extremely vulnerable’.
However, despite the success so far, around 1.3 million vulnerable people are yet to take up the offer of a Covid-19 jab, according to new estimates.
The NHS in England said 19 out of 20 of those most at risk from the virus have now received their first dose of a vaccine.
An estimated 27 million people in England are in the top nine priority groups for the vaccination – including over-50s, people deemed to be clinically extremely vulnerable, and health and social care workers.
This means it is likely around 25.7 million have received their first Covid-19 jab.
But it also suggests around 1.3 million have not yet been vaccinated.
The news comes as England partially relaxed lockdown restrictions yesterday, with the reopening of outdoor hospitality, gyms, hairdressers and non-essential shops.
The Prime Minister said he ‘can’t see any reason for us to change’ his plan as he urged people to remain cautious.
Mr Johnson said: ‘But it is very, very important that, if we are to get there in the way that we all want, people continue to be cautious and they continue to exercise restraint and just do the basic things to stop the spread of the virus – washing your hands, giving people plenty of space, doing things in fresh air.’
He also warned that, although the numbers of infections, hospital admissions and deaths are down, the reduction ‘has not been achieved by the vaccination programme’ but rather the lockdown.
‘Of course the vaccination programme has helped, but the bulk of the work in reducing the disease has been done by the lockdown,’ he said.
‘So, as we unlock, the result will inevitably be that we will see more infection, sadly we will see more hospitalisation and deaths. People have just got to understand that.’
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