More than a quarter of the UK adult population are now fully vaccinated against Covid-19, the Government has announced.
In total, the NHS has administered 47 million Covid vaccine doses since the vaccination programme launched on 8 December, with 13.2 million people having been vaccinated with two doses.
The news comes as patients aged 42 and over are now eligible for their first Covid jab, amid a surprise update to the online booking system this morning.
GP-led vaccination sites can also begin inviting these patients for their first dose, NHS England confirmed to Nursing in Practice‘s sister publication Pulse.
Health secretary Matt Hancock said: ‘This latest milestone is a terrific cause for celebration – over a quarter of all adults across the UK, including those most vulnerable to Covid-19, have now had two jabs, meaning they have received the strongest possible protection.
‘Thank you to the brilliant NHS, volunteers, local authorities, armed forces and civil servants who continue to work tirelessly to vaccinate people as quickly as possible.’
Yesterday, NHS England announced that GPs could begin inviting patients aged 44 for their Covid jab, as two-thirds of those aged 45-49 have received their first dose.
At the time, is said a decision on inviting the rest of cohort 10 would be made ‘very shortly’, depending on ‘available supply’.
NHS England last week told GPs that the vaccination programme was expected to be rolled out to the 40-44s this week, but that practices will continue to receive no ‘new’ first-dose deliveries as there is already enough vaccine supply ‘in systems’.
The UK is currently administering the Pfizer, AstraZeneca and Moderna vaccines, while the MHRA is still evaluating the safety and effectiveness of the Janssen and Novavax vaccines.
The UK vaccine taskforce has put in orders for 457 million doses of eight vaccines/vaccines in development, including:
- BioNTech/Pfizer for 40 million doses
- Oxford/AstraZeneca for 100 million doses
- Moderna for 17 million doses
- Janssen for 30 million doses
- Novavax for 60 million doses
- Valneva for 100 million doses
- GlaxoSmithKline and Sanofi Pasteur for 60 million doses
- CureVac for 50 million doses
The UK Government has also invested over £300m in the vaccine manufacturing process and committed £548m in aid to help distribute 1.3 billion doses of coronavirus vaccines to 92 developing countries this year.