As part of the UK’s national vaccination programme, more than four million people have now received their first dose of a Covid-19 vaccine.
Between December 8, 2020 and January 17, 2021, the NHS vaccinated a total of 4.06 million people, including more than half of those aged 80 and over, and more than half of elderly care home residents.
This represents more than double the number of vaccinations, per person per day, than any other European country and is a significant step towards hitting the Prime Minister’s target of offering vaccines to everyone in the country’s top four priority groups by mid-February.
This collective group of around 15 million people accounts for around 88% of Covid-19 deaths, with vaccines therefore likely to play a crucial role in saving lives and protecting NHS capacity.
Speaking at a press conference from Downing Street, Health Secretary Matt Hancock said: “This is the biggest medical deployment in British history and it’s one of the biggest civilian operations that this country’s ever undertaken.
“We’re on track to deliver our plan to vaccinate the most vulnerable groups by the middle of February, the groups that account for 88% of Covid-19 deaths.
“Our approach is, of course, to save as many lives as possible – as quickly as possible and to reduce the pressure on the NHS.”
Letters have been sent to those aged 70 and over and the clinically extremely vulnerable in England, inviting them to receive their vaccination, as the NHS begins the rollout to the next two priority groups - as per the priority order decided by the Joint Committee on Vaccination and Immunisation (JCVI).
Vaccinating the first priority groups remains the priority, but vaccination sites which have enough supply and capacity for vaccinating further people are now permitted to begin inviting those from the next two cohorts - those aged 70 and over and clinically extremely vulnerable people.
Some areas of the country, such as Gloucestershire, more than 4 in 5 people aged 80 and over have received their first dose. Elsewhere in Slough, every elderly care home resident has already been vaccinated.