More than 36 million people in the UK have been vaccinated with one dose and 20 million have received two doses.
Health services across the UK have now administered a total of 56,677,012 million vaccines between 8 December and 15 May, including 36,573,354 million people with their first dose (69.4%) and 20,103,658 million with their second (38.2%).
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.
Health and Social Care Secretary Matt Hancock said:
Vaccines Minister Nadhim Zahawi said:
The milestone comes as the government announces that appointments for a second dose of a vaccine will be brought forward from 12 to 8 weeks for the remaining people in the top nine priority groups yet to receive their second dose.
This is to ensure people across the UK have the strongest possible protection from the virus at an earlier opportunity.
The government says it’s part of its plans to tackle rising cases of the B1.617.2 variant of concern (VOC) first identified in India, as well as strengthened surge testing, genome sequencing and enhanced contact tracing measures deployed across the North West to control the spread.
Public Health England state:
“Vaccinated people are far less likely to get COVID-19 with symptoms. Vaccinated people are even more unlikely to get serious COVID-19, to be admitted to hospital or to die from it. There is growing evidence that vaccinated people are less likely to pass the virus to others.”
Data from Public Health England’s real-world study shows the vaccines are already having a significant impact in the UK, reducing hospitalisations and deaths, saving more than 11,700 lives and preventing 33,000 hospitalisations in England by the end of April.
New PHE analysis shows that individuals who receive a single dose of the Oxford/AstraZeneca vaccine have approximately 80% lower risk of death with COVID-19 compared with unvaccinated individuals. The report also shows protection against death from the Pfizer-BioNTech vaccine rises from approximately 80% after 1 dose to 97% after two doses.
A separate new PHE report provides further evidence that the vaccine is highly effective in reducing the risk of hospitalisation, especially in older ages. For the over 80s, it is estimated that two doses of the Pfizer-BioNTech vaccine reduces the risk of hospitalisation by 93%.
ONS data published on 6 May found that more than 9 in 10 (93%) adults reported positive sentiment towards the vaccine.
All vaccines being used in the UK have met the independent Medicines and Healthcare products Regulatory Agency’s (MHRA) strict standards of safety, effectiveness and quality.
Rolling reviews are underway by the MHRA to assess the Janssen and Novavax vaccines.
Approved vaccines are available from thousands of NHS vaccine centres, GP practices and pharmacies. Around 98% of people live within ten miles of a vaccination centre in England and vaccinations are taking place at sites including mosques, community centres and football stadiums.
UK Government Minister for Scotland Iain Stewart said: