The UK health secretary has announced that the country has issued over 60 million coronavirus vaccine doses. 762,361 doses were issued on Saturday, the second-highest in a day since the rollout began. Over 22 million adults across the UK have already received both doses.
A study established that the Pfizer and AstraZeneca vaccines proved highly effective after two doses when pitted against the India variant. Nevertheless, the UK’s Health Security Agency urged the public to grab their second doses. This comes as the much dreaded India strain has become dominant in some parts of the country.
Matt Hancock (UK Health Secretary) shared a Tweet describing the achievement as “fantastic” He also thanked the public for participating in the national vaccination effort. In a statement, he described the vaccination programme as “the biggest and most successful” in NHS history dubbing it a “British success story.”
Priti Patel the British Home Secretary took a more guarded approach by saying this shouldn’t be a “green light all the way” making it clear during the Andrew Marr Show the need for people to remain “conscientious.”
The latest government data by May 23 showed over 556,951 adults across the UK had received a second jab by Saturday. This translates to an impressive 43% of the entire adult population - 22,643,417 people. About half of the total vaccination numbers, 205,410 were first doses, bringing the overall number of those who had taken the first dose to 37,943,681 people - 72% of all adults.
The last time such astronomical numbers were registered was on 20 March when 844,285 doses were issued on a single day. However, Saturday's second dose figure exceeded that of the previous high recorded on April 24.
Public Health England ran a study on vaccines that prove their effectiveness in preventing hospital deaths and admissions. Over 13,000 potential deaths and 39,100 hospitalizations have been prevented by the aggressive vaccination programme that ran up to May 9.
BBC reports that the period for taking second vaccines has been shortened from 12 to 8 weeks for those falling within the top 9 high priority groups. This follows advice from the Joint Committee on Vaccination and Immunisation that recommends reducing this interval to counter the threat from new variants. The India variant (B.1.617.2) is partly responsible for most of the new cases recorded across England.
The UK government is looking to ease further Covid-19 restrictions on 21 June. On this date, nightclubs will reopen and restrictions on large events will get lifted as well as public social distancing. Citizens across the UK can visit nightclubs and attend large festivals.