A record 636,219 COVID jabs were recorded in England on Saturday capping off a bumper week which saw the highest number of doses delivered since the NHS vaccination programme began.
Hard working NHS staff delivered more than two and a half million doses last week, figures released today show.
The Prime Minister Boris Johnson was among 535,489 people who received their first dose on Friday when he was given the Oxford AstraZeneca at St Thomas’s hospital in London, where he was treated when he was critically ill with the virus.
NHS chief executive Sir Simon Stevens had the Oxford/AstraZeneca jab at Westminster Abbey on Thursday when the health service in England hit another major milestone by vaccinating more than half the adult population.
More than 22.8 million people have now had at least one jab in little over 100 days since the NHS vaccination programme, the biggest in the health service’s history, began. Another 1.5 million second doses have also been administered.
The figures include 2,761,890 first jabs in the past seven days, around 200,000 more than the previous busiest week.
Doctors, nurses and countless other staff, supported by volunteers and others, are delivering the life-saving jab at more than 1,600 sites ranging from cathedrals, mosques and temples to racecourses, sports stadiums, cinemas and museums.
NHS chief executive Sir Stevens said: “When my turn came this week I was delighted to get my first dose – which was indeed quick and painless.
“As a result of this bumper week we’ve now already vaccinated over half of people in my age group aged 50-54, and I’d urge everyone who’s now being invited to take up the offer.
“We’ve got really good supply this coming week as well, so if you’re aged 50 plus, now’s a great time to book in for your NHS COVID jab.
“The continuing speed and precision of this country’s COVID vaccination campaign is no accident – it’s thanks to careful planning and efficient delivery, powered by amazingly dedicated NHS staff and a hugely enthusiastic public.”
Prime Minister Boris Johnson said: “Like the rest of the country I am immensely proud of the progress we have made so far in rolling out vaccinations.
“There is still further to go and I encourage everyone to take up the offer when asked to do so.
“I received my first vaccine yesterday and would like to thank the brilliant NHS staff I met, alongside the teams and volunteers working across the UK to deliver this vital protection.”
Secretary of State for Health and Social Care Matt Hancock said: “It’s fantastic that we have had a new record day of jabs done in a day.
“This milestone is thanks to a massive team effort.
“The NHS, local government, armed forces and volunteers have worked tirelessly to deliver jabs to the most vulnerable in our country.”
Bookings continue to go from strength to strength more than doubling midweek with over 700,000 appointments made on Wednesday compared to just over 300,000 the previous day.
The NHS is inviting those eligible for a jab by letter and text with GPs also calling some patients.
Text invitations appear as an alert from ‘NHSvaccine’ and letters include a web link to click and reserve an appointment at one of more than 300 large-scale vaccination centres or pharmacies across England.
Dr Nikki Kanani, NHS England’s primary care director and a GP, said: “Thanks to the huge efforts of NHS staff, more than half of adults in England have now received their first COVID vaccine including record numbers this week.
“I would encourage anyone who is invited to come forward and book their jab – it is safe, quick and effective – and join nearly 23 million other people across England who’ve now had their jab.”
The NHS made history when 90-year-old Maggie Keenan was the first recipient in the world outside a clinical trial of a Pfizer vaccine at Coventry Hospital on December 8.
Brian Pinker, 82, was the first person to be vaccinated with the new Oxford/AstraZeneca coronavirus vaccine on January 4 by the NHS in Oxford, where the jab was created.
Dr Emily Lawson, NHS Chief Commercial Officer, who is leading the vaccination programme, said: “This has been a remarkable team effort requiring careful planning and coordination. Everyone involved – including all our staff, supporters and volunteers and of course everyone choosing to be vaccinated – should feel proud of the role that they have played in helping us to reach this milestone, ensuring jabs are in arms, not in fridges.”