This comes as new real-world data shows the vaccines are reducing hospitalisations and deaths, saving more than 13,000 lives and preventing 39,100 hospitalisations in England by 9 May…reports Asian Lite News.
Around 72% of UK adults have received a first dose of a COVID-19 vaccine, according to latest figures published on Monday.
Health services across the UK have now administered a total of around 60.6 million vaccines since 8 December, including around 37.9 million people with their first dose (72%) and 22.6 million with both doses (43%), ensuring they have the strongest possible protection against COVID-19 from a second dose.
This comes as new real-world data shows the vaccines are reducing hospitalisations and deaths, saving more than 13,000 lives and preventing 39,100 hospitalisations in England by 9 May.
The government met its target of offering a vaccine to the most vulnerable by 15 April and remains on track to offer a first dose to all adults by the end of July. NHS England are sending texts inviting people to book a vaccination to those aged 32 and 33.
“Shortly after vaccinating over 70% of adults in the UK with a first dose, we have hit yet another incredible milestone with over 60 million doses delivered in total,” Health Secretary Matt Hancock said.
“Our trailblazing vaccination programme – the biggest and most successful in NHS history – is another great British success story and a testament to what can be achieved when all 4 corners of country comes together to defeat this virus,” he added.
To ensure people have the strongest possible protection against COVID-19, appointments for second doses have been brought forward from 12 to 8 weeks for the remaining people in the top 9 priority groups who have yet to receive both doses.
Hancock earlier said he was “increasingly confident” that England is “on track” for the government’s roadmap to exit the coronavirus lockdown.
“I’m increasingly confident we’re on track for the roadmap because this data shows the vaccine after two doses works just as effectively, and we all know that the vaccine is our way out of this,” Hancock told Sky News on Sunday.
According to the PHE study, which took place between April 5 and May 16, the Pfizer vaccine was 88 per cent effective against symptomatic disease from the India-related variant two weeks after the second dose, compared with 93 per cent effectiveness against the variant identified in Kent.
Meanwhile, the AstraZeneca jab was 60 per cent effective, compared with 66 per cent against the Kent variant over the same period.
However, they were only 33 per cent effective three weeks after the first dose, the PHE report said.
The PHE said it expects to see even higher levels of effectiveness against hospital admissions and deaths.
Hancock described the outcome as “groundbreaking,” adding that “getting the second jab is vital”.
From May 17 as part of the government’s lockdown easing plan, pubs, bars and restaurants in England were permitted to open indoors, while indoor entertainment resumed, including cinemas, museums and children’s play areas.
People were also allowed to travel abroad to a number of green-list countries without having to quarantine upon return as the ban on foreign travel has also been lifted.
The government’s roadmap is expected to see all legal limits on social contact to be removed on June 21.
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