Covid vaccine landmark as more than half of UK population given first jab

More than half of the total UK population has received a first dose of a coronavirus vaccine.

NHS England data through April 23 shows that of the 38,189,536 total doses given in England to date, 28,102,852 were first-time doses – an increase from 107,656 the previous day.

This means the UK’s first dose so far is 33,496,293. More recent figures have yet to be reported from Wales, Scotland and Northern Ireland.

The UK population is estimated at 66,796,807, so the latest figures show that more than half the population has now received a first dose of a coronavirus vaccine.

Anyone 45 years or older can arrange their sting in England, as can people who are clinically at risk or health and care workers.

NHS Providers Deputy General Manager Saffron Cordery said: “It is an amazing achievement that half of the UK population has now received at least one Covid-19 sting.

“In less than five months, NHS frontline trust and community workers and volunteers have done an incredible job delivering over 33 million first puffs and more than 11 million second doses.

“We owe each of them our thanks. We have made really significant strides, but we still have a long way to go before we reach our next major milestone of offering all adults their first push by the end of July.

“In the meantime, we’d like to encourage everyone to get their Covid-19 vaccines when they are available and continue to respect the rules of social contact.

“These measures are key to keeping Covid-19 infection rates under control and ensuring that this current lockdown is our last.”

Experts have said vaccines should be able to control the Covid-19 pandemic, as they have released new real-world UK data showing that shocks cut open the infection and likely reduce transmission.

Just one dose of the Pfizer / BioNTech or Oxford / AstraZeneca vaccine results in a two-thirds decrease in coronavirus cases and is 74% effective against symptomatic infections.

After two doses of Pfizer, there was a 70% decrease in all cases and a 90% decrease in symptomatic cases – these are the people most likely to spread the coronavirus to others.

Experts are still collecting data on two doses of AstraZeneca, but say their results show that both vaccines work and are effective in the real world.

One of the new studies, which has yet to be peer-reviewed, is based on data from the national Covid-19 infection survey conducted by the University of Oxford and the Office for National Statistics (ONS).

It included a random sample of more than 373,000 adults from across the UK who produced more than 1.6 million swab test results between December and April.

Oxford University Professor Sarah Walker and lead investigator on the survey said the study suggested vaccines could reduce transmission and would also be effective against the Kent variant of the coronavirus.

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