Britain hits another Covid vaccine milestone with 60% of over-18s now fully jabbed: Matt Hancock says ‘we’re so close’ to ensuring the entire adult population is protected against the disease
- More than 31.7m over-18s have already had both doses, while 43.4m — or 82.5% — have had their first jab
- Matt Hancock hailed data, claiming UK was now ‘so close to ensuring entire adult population is protected’
- No10’s jab chief Nadhim Zahawi will likely brag about achievement at 5pm Downing St press conference
Britain today hit another Covid vaccination milestone, with 60 per cent of adults now fully vaccinated against the disease.
More than 31.7million over-18s have already had both doses, while 43.4million — or 82.5 per cent — have had their first jab, official statistics show.
Health Secretary Matt Hancock hailed the figures, claiming the UK was now ‘so close to ensuring the entire adult population is protected’.
No10’s vaccine chief Nadhim Zahawi — who will likely brag about the achievement at a 5pm Downing Street press conference tonight — hailed the ‘extraordinary feat’.
Ministers have once again urged Brits to come forward for their vaccines, with the roll-out now on the final phase with all over-18s able to book an appointment.
Mr Zahawi said getting two doses was ‘absolutely vital’ because of the rapid spread of the Indian variant, adding: ‘I urge everyone eligible to get their jab and help us get back to normality.’
More than 31.7million over-18s have already had both doses, while 43.4million — or 82.5 per cent — have had their first jab, official statistics show
Health Secretary Matt Hancock, pictured leaving 10 Downing Street today, told Radio 4’s Today programme yesterday that the latest hospitalisation and death data was ‘encouraging’ and the country is ‘on track’ for easing restrictions on July 19
Boris Johnson last week delayed the original June 21 Freedom Day by four weeks, buying the NHS crucial time to dish out millions more top-up jabs and bolster the nation’s immunity.
A single jab is less effective at preventing symptoms and serious illness in patients infected with the Delta strain — which makes up 99 per cent of all cases in England.
But rigorous analysis of the UK’s actual roll-out has shown the double-dose of jabs made by either AstraZeneca or Pfizer work just as well against the variant.
No10 has now pledged to offer a first dose of a jab to all over-18s by the new ‘terminus day’ of July 19, and have a separate goal of fully vaccinating two-thirds of adults by the same date.
Although the target is not a pre-requisite of easing lockdown, the Prime Minister stressed the urgent need to jab as many people as possible to finally end restrictions.
Ministers are preparing to axe virtually all coronavirus curbs next month. Social distancing, face masks and work-from-home guidance are all expected to be ditched as England makes a dramatic push back towards normality.
However, it is understood there is almost no chance the date will be brought forward to July 5 despite immense pressure from Tory MPs.
The plan to reopen could put England on a significantly different course from Scotland, after Nicola Sturgeon yesterday delayed the latest phase of its loosening for another three weeks and suggested that mask-wearing is likely to continue into the autumn.
It comes as MailOnline today revealed there were more signs that England’s Covid crisis may be slowing down, with data showing hospital admissions are no longer spiralling out of control.
In another boost for hopes of Freedom Day going ahead as planned, NHS statistics show the number of infected patients needing hospital care now stands at 183.7 per day, on average.
This was up by 20.6 per cent on the figure the week before, with admissions jumping because of the explosion in cases throughout June which was fuelled by the rampant spread of the Indian variant.
But the speed at which hospitalisations are rising has dropped considerably over the past week, with the week-on-week growth rate peaking at 48.7 per cent on June 14.
With data now also showing the speed of infections is slowing, experts are confident that England will be able to unlock fully on July 19.
A Cabinet source told the Mail there was now clear evidence vaccinations were working. ‘It’s all over, even if not everyone in Government has realised it yet,’ the insider said.
Even ‘Professor Lockdown’ Neil Ferguson today said the situation was ‘encouraging’, while another top scientist said the third wave felt more like a ‘bump’ and there was a ‘certain amount of coronamania going on’ and that reopening on July 5 was possible.
Meanwhile, other academics said they are ‘incredibly optimistic’ about the outbreak and ‘don’t see any real need’ to push back Freedom Day again, after the original date of June 21 was delayed by four weeks to ensure millions more adults were fully vaccinated.