More than 1.3 million people in the UK have now received their first dose of a COVID-19 vaccine, the Government has announced.
In England, this figure includes nearly a quarter of the most elderly, vulnerable patients. According to Prime Minister Boris Johnson, those vaccinated should have a ‘significant degree of immunity’ to the virus within a two to three weeks. Speaking at a press conference on 6 January, Mr Johnson also announced that the UK would aim to vaccinate 2 million people a week.
‘We’ve now vaccinated over 1.1 million people in England and over 1.3 million across the UK,’ said Mr Johnson.
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‘And that includes more than 650,000 people over 80, which is 23% of all the over 80s in England. That means that nearly one in four of one of the most vulnerable groups, will have in two to three weeks, all of them, a significant degree of immunity. And when you consider that the average age of COVID fatalities is in the 80s, you can see the importance of what we have already achieved.’
The news comes as the country re-enters a national lockdown. Cases of COVID-19 have spiked in recent weeks, with approximately 1 in 50 people, or 2% of the population, having the virus.
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‘Cases are rising almost everywhere, in much of the country driven by the new more transmissible variant. We are not confident that the NHS can handle a further sustained rise in cases and without further action there is a material risk of the NHS in several areas being overwhelmed over the next 21 days,’ said a joint statement of the UK’s chief medical officers.
‘Although the NHS is under immense pressure, significant changes have been made so people can still receive lifesaving treatment.’