The UK announced on Sunday that it had given more than 20 million people at least one dose of a coronavirus vaccine. The rapid introduction gives hope in a country with the highest death toll in Europe.
Prime Minister Boris Johnson called it “a great national achievement” while praising the National Health Service and other stakeholders for “hard work.”
Health Secretary Matt Hancock announced this in a video message on Twitter and said, “I am delighted that over 20 million people have now been vaccinated.”
According to government figures released on Sunday, a total of 20,089,551 people have received a first dose.
In mid-February, the UK hit a government target of 15 million most vulnerable people to receive first doses.
The government plans to offer a first batch to the entire adult population by the end of July.
Only Israel and the United Arab Emirates vaccinated more people per capita.
Smiling, Hancock said, “I’d like to thank every single person who came forward to get the push.”
“There is still a long way to go, but we are making great strides,” he said.
The UK vaccination program has been in place quickly since it started in early December when it became the first country in the world to begin mass vaccination with a fully tested vaccine.
Past errors in contact tracing and controlling the spread of infection have led to a surge in deaths in the UK and the death toll in the country is the highest in Europe at 122,705.
The country is still under a national lockdown, but daily cases, hospitalizations and deaths have declined dramatically since late January, although a more contagious variant has emerged.
There were 6,035 new daily cases reported on Sunday and 144 deaths, the lowest since early fall.
On Thursday, the UK lowered the country’s virus alert level by one notch from the highest possible level, saying the drop in cases has reduced the threat to the state National Health Service.
The UK is accelerating the adoption of vaccines and targeting every adult by the fall
© 2021 AFP
Quote: UK vaccinates over 20 million with at least one dose (2021, February 28) retrieved from https://medicalxpress.com/news/2021-02-uk-vaccinates-million-dose.html on March 1, 2021
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