LONDON, (Reuters) – Britain has now given around 2 million people a COVID-19 vaccination, Health Secretary Matt Hancock said today ahead of a ramp-up in the roll-out of the shots tomorrow.
“Over the last week we’ve vaccinated more people than in the entirety of December, so we’re accelerating the roll-out,” he told BBC TV.
Asked how many people had been vaccinated, Hancock said: “It’s around the 2 million mark, but we’re going to publish the exact figures tomorrow and then henceforth on a daily basis.”
Britain is aiming to vaccinate around 14 million people by the middle of February, comprising the over-70s, the clinically vulnerable – the elderly or with pre-existing conditions – and health and social-care workers.
Hancock said around 200,000 were currently being vaccinated every day, putting Britain on course to meeting the target and offering an opportunity to start easing restrictions in the spring.
With a highly transmissible new variant of the virus surging across Britain, Prime Minister Boris Johnson has imposed a third national lockdown in England – its most populous region – to try to stem the pandemic before the most vulnerable are immunised.
More than 80,000 people in Britain have died within 28 days of receiving a positive COVID-19 test, the fifth highest official death toll in the world, and over 3 million people have tested positive.
Queen Elizabeth and her husband Philip, both in their nineties, have received vaccinations against COVID-19, Buckingham Palace said on Saturday.