More than 25 million people in the UK have received their first dose of a COVID-19 vaccine.
Figures out today show the UK health services vaccinated a total of 25,273,226 people between 8 December and 16 March with first doses of the Pfizer and Oxford/AstraZeneca vaccines, while 1,759,445 people have had their second dose.
This means almost half of the adult population (26.5 million) have already been vaccinated and will soon develop strong protection from serious illness, saving countless lives and significantly reducing pressure on the NHS.
Prime Minister Boris Johnson said:
This latest milestone is an incredible achievement – representing 25 million reasons to be confident for the future as we cautiously reopen society.
Thank you once again to the brilliant NHS, scientists, armed forces, volunteers and all those who’ve helped our rollout.
Speaking at the Downing Street press conference, Health Secretary Matt Hancock said:
Today, exactly 100 days after Margaret Keenan got the first authorised jab in the whole world, we’ve now vaccinated over 25 million people across the United Kingdom.
It’s been such a national mission. One of the biggest logistical exercises since the war.
We’re moving in the right direction. Thanks to everybody following the rules that are keeping us safe now and coming forward to get a jab that will keep us safe for the future.
So let’s stick with it, follow the rules, and when you get the call, get the jab.
The rollout is continuing at pace and the UK is on track to achieve the Prime Minister’s target of offering the first dose of the vaccine to all over-50s by 15 April, as well as all adults by the end of July.
BT are marking the milestone with a message on the iconic BT Tower in London.
Vaccines Minister Nadhim Zahawi said:
Vaccines are the best way to protect ourselves and our loved ones from this terrible virus and the UK vaccination programme is going from strength to strength.
This is an incredible milestone and moves us one step closer to safely seeing our friends and family again.
The vaccination programme will continue to expand over the coming weeks and more people will receive their second doses.
All vaccines being used in the UK have undergone robust clinical trials and have met the Medicines and Healthcare products Regulatory Agency’s strict standards of safety, effectiveness and quality.
Data from Public Health England’s real-world study shows that both the Pfizer and Oxford/AstraZeneca vaccines are highly effective in reducing COVID-19 infections among older people aged 70 years and over.
The vaccines are available free of charge from thousands of vaccine centres, and through GPs and pharmacies. Ninety-eight per cent of people live within 10 miles of a vaccination centre in England, which includes mosques, Westminster Abbey and football stadiums.