More than half of all adults in the UK have now received a second dose of a COVID-19 vaccine including Prime Minister Boris Johnson who visited the Francis Crick Vaccination Centre in central London this week to receive his second jab.
Health services across the UK have now administered a total of 66,180,731 vaccines between 8 December and 2 June, including 39,758,428 people with first doses (75.5%) and 26,422,303 people with both doses (50.2%), ensuring they have the strongest possible protection against COVID-19 from a second dose.
A recent study by Public Health England (PHE) shows that two doses of the COVID-19 vaccines are highly effective against the B.1.617.2 (Delta) variant first identified in India. Vaccine effectiveness against symptomatic disease from the B.1.617.2 (Delta) variant is similar after two doses compared to the B.1.1.7 (Alpha) variant dominant in the UK, and we expect to see even higher levels of effectiveness against hospitalisation and death.
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 has extended the offer of a vaccine to everyone over the age of 30.
Health and Social Care Secretary Matt Hancock said:
Last week, the Medicines and Healthcare products Regulatory Agency (MHRA) announced that Janssen’s COVID-19 vaccine was authorised for use in the UK. It is expected to be available for use later this year. The single-dose vaccine was shown to be 67% effective overall in preventing COVID-19 infection and 85% effective in preventing severe disease or hospitalisation.
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 nine priority groups who have yet to receive both doses.
The move follows updated advice from the independent experts at the Joint Committee on Vaccination and Immunisation (JCVI), which has considered the latest available evidence and has recommended reducing the dosing interval to counter the threat of new variants of concern.
The government and its scientific experts are monitoring the evolving situation and rates of variants closely, and will not hesitate to take additional action as necessary.
Vaccines Minister, Nadhim Zahawi, said:
According to PHE vaccinated people are far less likely to get COVID-19 with symptoms and even more unlikely to get serious COVID-19, to be admitted to hospital, or to die from it and there is growing evidence that vaccinated people are less likely to pass the virus to others.
Data from PHE’s real-world study shows the vaccines are already having a significant impact in the UK, reducing hospitalisations and deaths, saving more than 13,200 lives and preventing 39,700 hospitalisations in England.
PHE analysis also shows that individuals who receive a single dose of the Oxford/AstraZeneca vaccine have approximately 80% lower risk of death against the B.1.1.7 (Alpha) coronavirus variant originating in Kent and a second dose of the vaccine can provide 85 to 90% protection against symptomatic disease. Protection against death from the Pfizer-BioNTech vaccine rises from approximately 80% after one dose to 97% after two doses against the B.1.1.7 (Alpha) variant.
Data published by YouGov shows the UK continues to top the list of nations where people are willing to have a COVID-19 vaccine or have already been vaccinated.
ONS data published on 6 May found that more than 9 in 10 (93%) adults reported positive sentiment towards the vaccine.
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.
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