Covid: More than 12 million in UK have had first jab
More than 12 million people in the UK have now had at least one dose of a Covid vaccine, after 550,000 first jabs were given out on Saturday.
The government is aiming to offer first doses to 15 million people in the top four priority groups by 15 February.
At the current rate, about 16 million people would receive a first jab by that date.
The UK’s daily Covid cases continue to fall, but remain high – with another 15,845 reported on Sunday.
Another 373 people in the UK have died within 28 days of a positive Covid test, the data also showed. Fewer deaths tend to be reported on Sundays, due to a reporting lag over the weekend.
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The update on vaccine progress comes as scientists say early trials suggest Oxford-AstraZeneca’s jab offers “minimal protection” against mild disease from the South Africa variant.
Meanwhile, workplace Covid testing is being offered to more companies in England, for staff who cannot work from home during lockdown, the government says.
Businesses with more than 50 employees are now able to access lateral flow tests, which can produce results in less than 30 minutes.
Previously only firms with more than 250 staff qualified for testing.
The speedy rollout of Covid vaccines to all vulnerable people is seen as critical to reducing the pandemic’s death toll and relieving pressure on the NHS.
Once the first four priority groups, including the over-70s, healthcare workers and people shielding, have received their jabs, the programme will move on to people aged 50 and over and those with underlying health conditions.
From spring, the government plans to begin vaccinating the rest of the adult population, another 21 million people. Teachers, transport workers, supermarket workers and the military could be prioritised.
The UK’s devolved nations have the power to set their own coronavirus regulations, and Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland each offer their own advice on testing.
On Sunday, Scottish health secretary Jeane Freeman said her ambition was to have every adult vaccinated for Covid “in the summer”.
The Scottish government had previously set a September target to vaccinate all over-18s.
The UK is currently receiving doses of two vaccines approved by the medicine regulator – the Pfizer-BioNTech jab and a second vaccine, from Oxford University and AstraZeneca.
A third vaccine, made by US company Moderna, has been approved but supplies are not expected to be available until spring.
The UK is also lined up to receive at least three other vaccines if they are approved for use.
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In other developments:
- The government has ruled out plans to issue so-called “vaccine passports” to enable people who have had the jab against coronavirus to travel abroad
- GPs in England will be paid an additional £10 by the NHS for every housebound patient they vaccinate against Covid-19, it has been announced
- The extra £10-per-visit funding is to recognise extra staff time and complexity of vaccinating housebound people, NHS England said
- Labour’s shadow attorney general has apologised for previously describing the Covid-19 pandemic as a “gift that keeps on giving” for lawyers
- And a number of Covid-19 vaccination centres in the east of England have closed because of heavy snow
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Published at Sun, 07 Feb 2021 17:24:58 +0000