More than 15 million people in the UK have now had a first dose of a Covid-19 vaccine – the equivalent of everyone in the Government’s top four priority groups.
Vaccine Minister Nadhim Zahawi confirmed the milestone on Sunday afternoon, a few hours after Foreign Secretary Dominic Raab said the Government was confident it was “on track” to meet its deadline of offering a jab to people most at risk by Monday.
The priority list set out by the Joint Committee on Vaccination and Immunisation (JCVI) includes nine categories.
The top priority was care home residents and their carers, followed by people over the age of 80 and frontline health and social care workers.
The third priority group was people aged 75 and over, and the fourth group was people over the age of 70 and those deemed to be “clinically extremely vulnerable”.
15,000,000! Amazing team ❤️ We will not rest till we offer the vaccine to the whole of phase1 the 1-9 categories of the most vulnerable & all over 50s by end April and then all adults. @NikkiKF @Emily_JR_Lawson @Comd101LogBde 💉💉💉 https://t.co/NqOZl5e0aG
— Nadhim Zahawi (@nadhimzahawi) February 14, 2021
The target was set back on January 4 when Prime Minister Boris Johnson said that by mid-February it is expected that the first vaccine dose will have been offered to everyone in the four top priority groups identified by the JCVI.
On that day, Mr Johnson said: “If we succeed in vaccinating all those groups, we will have removed huge numbers of people from the path of the virus.
“And of course, that will eventually enable us to lift many of the restrictions we have endured for so long.”
Today we have reached a significant milestone in the United Kingdom’s national vaccination programme.
This country has achieved an extraordinary feat – administering a total of 15 million jabs into the arms of some of the most vulnerable people in the country. pic.twitter.com/wPKCXPT8Td
— Boris Johnson (@BorisJohnson) February 14, 2021
Health Secretary Matt Hancock has described today’s milestone as “fantastic”, before urging anyone eligible to step forward and take up their appointment saying the “vaccine is our route to freedom”.
In response to news that 15 million people in the UK have now been vaccinated, NHS chief executive Sir Simon Stevens said: “Hitting this milestone just 10 weeks after the NHS made history by delivering the first Covid vaccination outside of a clinical trial is a remarkable shared achievement.
“The NHS vaccination programme is the biggest and fastest in Europe – and in the health service’s history – and that is down to the skill, care, and downright hard work of our fantastic staff, supported by local communities, volunteers and the armed forces.
“On behalf of the whole country it’s right to mark this successful first phase with a huge thank you to everyone involved in this extraordinary team effort.”
NHS England data shows a total of 1,490,098 jabs were given to people in London between December 8 and February 13, including 1,426,692 first doses and 63,406 second doses.