UK vaccine rollout passes 10 million in ‘milestone’, says PM

Agence France-Presse

Posted at Feb 04 2021 02:53 AM

UK vaccine rollout passes 10 million in ‘milestone’, says PM 1
Volunteers go door-to-door handing out COVID-19 home test kits to residents amid the pandemic in Ealing, West London on February 3, 2021. Henry Nicholls, Reuters

More than 10 million people have received a first dose of a COVID-19 vaccine in Britain, according to government statistics published on Wednesday.

The health ministry said 10,021,471 people have had a jab since the start of a mass vaccination campaign in early December.

A further 498,962 have had a second dose.

Prime Minister Boris Johnson, who has set a target of vaccinating 15 million of the most vulnerable by mid-February, called the figures a "milestone".

He told a Downing Street news conference the figures included nearly 90 percent of people aged 75 and above in England, and all elderly residents of care homes.

"There are many people and groups responsible for the UK's vaccination program," he said, heralding everyone from scientists to delivery drivers to pharmacists for their roles.

"And it is thanks to their effort -- the most colossal in the history of our National Health Service -- that we have today passed the milestone."

Britain has been hit hard by the global health crisis, and on Wednesday recorded another 1,322 deaths within 28 days of a positive test, taking the overall toll in the outbreak to 109,335.

A further 19,202 positive cases were recorded in the last 24 hours. In all, nearly 3.9 million people have had the disease.

Health Secretary Matt Hancock called the 10 million mark "hugely significant", as the government seeks a way to lift lockdown measures in the weeks ahead.

"Every jabs makes us all a bit safer -- I want to thank everyone playing their part," he wrote on Twitter.

Britain was the first Western nation to approve the use of the Pfizer/BioNTech jab outside a clinical trial, and has been administering doses alongside one developed by Oxford University and AstraZeneca.

A third, from Moderna, has also been approved and will come on stream in the coming months. Regulators are currently studying trial data from a fourth developed by Novavax.

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