More than three quarters of UK adults have received a first dose of a COVID-19 vaccine, the latest figures published today (2 June) show, as the vaccination programme continues at pace.
Health services across the UK have now administered over 65.6 million vaccines between 8 December and 1 June, including over 39.5 million people with their first dose (75.2%) and over 26 million with both doses (49.5%), ensuring they have the strongest possible protection against COVID-19 from a second dose.
This week, G7 health ministers will gather ahead of the leader’s summit where the Health Secretary will praise the fantastic efforts of the NHS, volunteers, and scientists over the last year in developing and rolling out the vaccine programme at pace.
The G7 Health Ministers’ summit follows the announcement last week that Janssen’s single-dose COVID-19 vaccine has been authorised for use by the UK medicines regulator, the MHRA. This is yet another weapon in the UK’s fight against the pandemic. Earlier this year, the Janssen vaccine was shown to be 67% effective overall in preventing COVID-19 infection and 85% effective in preventing severe disease or hospitalisation.
Health and Social Care Secretary Matt Hancock said:
I am incredibly pleased that over three quarters of UK adults have had their first dose. This is an incredible step forward in the largest and most successful vaccination programme in our history.
Although we’ve come so far in less than 6 months since the world’s first authorised jab was given in the UK, our vital work is not done. We must redouble our efforts on the second dose to ensure as many people as possible have maximum protection.
We’ve brought forward appointments from 12 to 8 weeks for a second dose, and all over 30s are now eligible for the jab. I encourage everyone to come forward when the offer comes and play a part in getting us back to normality.
Vaccines Minister Nadhim Zahawi added:
Three quarters of adults have been vaccinated with a first dose of the vaccine, a remarkable milestone.
I want to pay tribute to everyone involved who has helped deliver the vaccine into arms at record speed – the NHS and care staff, volunteers, pharmacists, civil servants and more – this was truly a momentous national effort.
The second dose is crucial to get maximum protection so please come forward for your second jab. It could save your life and protect your loved ones.
The government met its target of offering a vaccine to the most vulnerable by 15 April and remains on track to offer a first dose to all adults by the end of July, as well as vaccinating all adults over 50 with both doses by 21 June. NHS England has extended the offer of a vaccine to everyone over the age of 30, and people are encouraged to come forward and get their jab when called.
To ensure people have the strongest possible protection against COVID-19, appointments for second doses have been brought forward from 12 to 8 weeks for the remaining people in the top 9 priority groups who have yet to receive both doses.
The move follows updated advice from the independent experts at the Joint Committee on Vaccination and Immunisation (JCVI), which has considered the latest available evidence and has recommended reducing the dosing interval to counter the threat of new variants of concern. The government and its scientific experts say they are monitoring the evolving situation and rates of variants closely, and will not hesitate to take additional action as necessary.
A recent study by Public Health England (PHE) shows that two doses of the COVID-19 vaccines are highly effective against the B.1.617.2 variant first identified in India. Vaccine effectiveness against symptomatic disease from the B.1.617.2 variant is similar after two doses compared to the B.1.1.7 (Kent) variant dominant in the UK, and they say they expect to see even higher levels of effectiveness against hospitalisation and death.
PHE say vaccinated people are far less likely to get COVID-19 with symptoms and vaccinated people are even more unlikely to get serious COVID-19, to be admitted to hospital, or to die from it. There is also growing evidence that vaccinated people are less likely to pass the virus to others.
Data from PHE’s real-world study shows the vaccines are already having a significant impact in the UK, reducing hospitalisations and deaths, saving more than 13,200 lives and preventing at least 39,700 hospitalisations in England.
PHE analysis also shows that individuals who receive a single dose of the Oxford/AstraZeneca vaccine have approximately 80% lower risk of death against the B.1.1.7 coronavirus variant originating in Kent and a second dose of the vaccine can provide 85 to 90% protection against symptomatic disease. Protection against death from the Pfizer-BioNTech vaccine rises from approximately 80% after one dose to 97% after 2 doses against the Kent variant.
Data published by YouGov shows the UK continues to top the list of nations where people are willing to have a COVID-19 vaccine or have already been vaccinated. ONS data published on 6 May found that more than 9 in 10 (93%) adults reported positive sentiment towards the vaccine.
Approved vaccines are available from thousands of NHS vaccine centres, GP practices and pharmacies. Around 98% of people live within ten miles of a vaccination centre in England and vaccinations are taking place at sites including mosques, community centres and football stadiums.
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Photo licensed under a Creative Commons Generic License. Source: UK GOV.