Matt Hancock warned that “the job is not done” when he urged people to keep signing up for their Covid vaccinations.
The Health Secretary spoke as the UK vaccination program continued and more than 40 million people in the country have now received their first dose.
According to a government source, the June 21st date for lifting all Covid restrictions seems in doubt as the government weighs up new options.
Due to the new Indian variant, coronavirus cases have increased and it seems government figures are wondering whether or not restrictions should be lifted entirely.
Meanwhile, health services across the UK have delivered a total of 67,287,864 vaccines between December 8th and June 5th.
This includes 40,124,229 people with first doses [76.2%] and 27,160,635 people with both doses [51.6%].
Hancock said, “It is an amazing achievement to be able to deliver over 40 million first doses in less than six months.
“In every corner of the UK, people roll up their sleeves when the time comes to protect themselves and those around them.
“It seems that every day we are reaching another important vaccination milestone on the way back to recovery. More than three quarters of adults have received a first dose and over half of adults have now been vaccinated with the life-saving second dose.
“I appreciate the tireless work of the NHS, the volunteers and the armed forces in building this dynamic – but our work is not finished yet.
“I encourage anyone entitled to join the millions who have the best possible protection from this virus by getting their jab in due course.”
NHS England has expanded the offer of a vaccine to anyone over 30 years of age.
Vaccines “highly effective against India strain”
A recent study by Public Health England (PHE) shows that two doses of the COVID-19 vaccines are highly effective against variant B.1.617.2 (Delta), which was first identified in India.
The government said it had achieved its goal of offering a vaccine to the most vulnerable by April 15 and remains on track to offer a first dose to all adults by the end of July.
Last week the Medicines and Health Products Regulator (MHRA) announced that Janssen’s COVID-19 vaccine had been approved for use in the UK. The cans are expected to be available later this year.
Overall, the single-dose vaccine was 67 percent shown in preventing COVID-19 infection and 85 percent in preventing serious illness or hospitalization.
To ensure people have the best possible protection from COVID-19, the dates for the second dose have been brought forward from 12 to 8 weeks for the remaining people in the top nine priority groups who have not yet received both doses.
The move follows updated advice from the independent experts of the Joint Committee on Vaccination and Immunization (JCVI), who took into account the latest available evidence and recommended that the dosing interval be shortened to counter the threat of new variants of concern.
The government and its scientific experts are closely monitoring the evolving situation and the frequency of the variants and will not hesitate to take additional action if necessary.
Vaccination Minister Nadhim Zahawi said: “Our vaccination program, the largest and most successful in the history of the NHS, has now delivered over 40 million first doses into the guns – a fantastic achievement.
“I am incredibly proud of everyone involved, who worked tirelessly to achieve milestone after milestone. It’s time to double our efforts on the second dose to make sure everyone has the maximum protection.
“The offer is open to everyone over 30 years of age. So if you’re eligible, get the jab. It could save your life and protect your loved ones. “