Friday was a record day for Covid vaccinations in the UK, with a combined 711,156 first and second doses given to members of the public. It means that half of all UK adults – some 26,853,407 people – have now received a first dose of a vaccine. Health Secretary Matt Hancock said the latest milestone in the rollout marked a “phenomenal achievement”. Prime Minister Boris Johnson – one of those to receive a first dose on Friday – also hailed the landmark. A total of 2,132,551 people have also received their second dose of a vaccine, government figures show. Another 96 deaths within 28 days of a positive Covid test have also been recorded in the UK, as have a further 5,587 cases. “Vaccinating over half of all adults is a phenomenal achievement and is testament to the mammoth efforts of the NHS, GPs, volunteers, local authorities and civil servants in every corner of the UK,” said Mr Hancock.
The news comes after the government confirmed a shipment of about five million doses of the Oxford-AstraZeneca jab would be delayed, resulting in an expected reduction in the number of first doses – including for the under-50s – given during April. Meanwhile, European countries, including France, Germany and Italy, have begun offering the Oxford jab again after a pause over safety fears. Mr Hancock said he was “absolutely delighted” to reveal the UK had reached the vaccination milestone.