Health Secretary Matt Hancock today announced that 78.7 per cent of Britons over the age of 80 have had a Covid vaccine as he confirmed 6.6million people have received their first dose.
That means nearly one in 10 people across the country has had at least one dose that could protect them against deadly Covid-19, and the Government is nearly halfway through its drive to hit 15million by mid-February.
Britain is ahead of all other countries in Europe in its vaccine drive and has one of the highest per-person rates in the world. But a Sunday slowdown yesterday meant that only 221,067 people received vaccines, down from a record high of 493,013 people on Saturday.
Department of Health figures showed 220,249 first doses and 818 second doses were administered across the country on January 24.
The Sunday slowdown is thought to have been triggered by fewer doctors and nurses being on shift on the last day of the working week, meaning fewer Britons could receive their jabs. The smallest number of cases and deaths is also generally recorded on Sundays, when more staff are off work and unavailable to tick off reports.
It comes as ministers battle to vaccinate the most vulnerable to the virus by mid-February. This includes the over-70s, vulnerable, care home residents and NHS frontline staff.
But the NHS appears to have already missed its internal target of reaching all care home residents by January 24.
The Health Secretary Matt Hancock said last Thursday they had already vaccinated 63 per cent of care home residents – leaving another 154,660 out of an estimated 420,000 residents waiting for their jabs. But ministers are yet to say whether the NHS target has been hit.
Britain today recorded another 22,195 infections with the virus, a 41 per cent drop on last week, and a further 592 deaths, down one per cent on the same time last week.
Early figures show there were 220,000 vaccinations in the UK yesterday. The number will be updated later today by the Department of Health to include jabs in all settings
Health Secretary Matt Hancock today announced that 78.7 per cent of people over the age of 80 in the UK have had a Covid vaccine
Boris Johnson pictured visiting a vaccination centre in The Hive, north London, today. Ministers are aiming to get jabs to 15million of the most vulnerable by mid-February
GRANDMOTHER, 92, DIES WITH COVID-19 FIVE DAYS AFTER HER FIRST VACCINATION
Mary Green, 92, from North Tyneside
A great-grandmother who caught coronavirus five days after getting vaccinated against the disease has died.
Mary Green, 92, received her first dose at a care home in North Tyneside on New Year’s Eve, giving her family hope she would not face an infection.
But less than a week later the dementia sufferer tested positive for the virus.
Doctors said she couldn’t be moved to hospital because she was too frail to undergo invasive treatment and would find the change of scene confusing, meaning she had to receive care at the home. She died 12 days later of suspected sepsis, which they said was likely triggered by the virus.
Scientists say it takes around two weeks for the vaccines to spark immunity, suggesting Mary’s first dose came too late to protect her from the disease.
Mary’s heartbroken son Chris, 52, said the family had a visit to see Mary at Charlton Court care home cancelled on January 2 due to lockdown, reports ChronicleLive.
A family member – who asked not to be named – said they thought Mary had received the vaccine either just before or just after she was infected.
‘You do wonder if they’ve let their guard down once they’ve had the vaccine,’ they said.
Charlton Court care home said in a statement: ‘Our staff started to receive their Covid vaccinations from mid-December and we were delighted when our residents began to receive their Covid vaccinations later in December 2020 as part of the first roll out of the vaccination to homes in North Tyneside.
‘Our staff team continue to adhere to strict Covid-19 preventative measures, including the use of PPE and regular testing in line with government guidelines, as they have done since the outbreak of the pandemic. We are grateful to our staff team who continue to care for all of our residents at this time.’
Mr Hancock sounded a positive note at a Downing Street press briefing, saying four fifths of over-80s have been already been against the virus, as the Government speeds towards its target.
‘It’s a really emotional moment when people get vaccinated, it means so much to people because the vaccine brings safety to them,’ he said.
‘And I’m very proud to be able to tell you that as of last night we have been able to vaccinate 78.7 per cent of all over-80s, that’s almost four in five of everyone aged over-80.’
He added: ‘I’m delighted that you can see from these figures that there’s so much enthusiasm for vaccination among the over-80s because octogenarians know what scientists know which is that the vaccine saves lives.’
The Health Secretary also praised the NHS for its ‘very strong performance’ last week rolling out the vaccine, and said he was ‘confident’ it would administer every jab that was available.
But he warned the drive could still hit bumps in the road, as supplies of the vaccine are ‘tight’.
An early count published by NHS England, Public Health Scotland and Public Health Wales revealed a breakdown of the pace of the vaccination drive by region.
The figures are updated each day by the Department of Health to include vaccinations from all settings, but the early numbers show those carried out at NHS-run sites – which are always very close to the total.
They showed the Midlands – which is already leading the vaccination drive – gave out almost 40,000 doses on Saturday, the highest in the country.
The region has the country’s two trial 24/7 vaccination centres and has also started administering jabs in a mosque as it ramps up the local rollout.
It was followed by the East of England, where 31,699 jabs were dished out, and the North West, where 30,442 doses were got into people’s arms.
Wales gave out the lowest number of doses in the country on Sunday, at 6,838, followed by Scotland, at 11,519.
The figures are not broken down beyond regions, but it is thought the NHS has missed its target of vaccinating all care home residents by January 24.
The Health Secretary Matt Hancock told the Commons on January 21 that 63 per cent of all care home residents had received the vaccine – leaving another 154,660 out of an estimated 420,000 residents waiting for their jabs.
‘I’m delighted to say 63 per cent of residents in elderly care homes have now received a vaccination, that is a really significant increase over the last week,’ Mr Hancock said.
‘And we’re on track to deliver on our goal of vaccinating elderly care home residents by the end of this month, and I hope sooner than that.’
NHS England had instructed all GPs to complete vaccinating care home residents by January 17, with an absolute deadline of January 24.
‘With the increased rate and spread of infections, the need to ensure that these cohorts are vaccinated as the top priority is higher than ever,’ the NHS’s medical director of primary care Nikita Kanani told GPs in a letter seen by Pulse magazine.
The health service suggested doctors consider working 12-hour days seven days a week to hit the target, adding any delay puts the most vulnerable at risk.
Almost half a million Britons were vaccinated against the virus on Saturday, official figures show, as the rollout gathered steam for the fifth day in a row.
Department of Health data showed a record 493,013 jabs were administered.
And three quarters of Britain’s over-80s have now received their first dose, according to the Health Secretary Matt Hancock, in another promising sign that the country could be on course to hit its ambitious target.
There have also been concerns the drive could be held up by supply of the vaccine, which has been described as ‘lumpy’ and could yet threaten to derail the plans.
Ministers have refused to reveal how much is already in the country, citing a security risk, but there have been reports of deliveries to centres being scaled down.
Confusion has also been sparked over whether supplies are being diverted to areas lagging behind in the rollout, with the vaccines minister denying this after Mr Hancock said the Government would be redirecting stocks last week.
British soldiers set up the Covid-19 vaccination centre in Aberdeen, Scotland, yesterday as ministers seek to turbo-charge the rollout
And both Pfizer and AstraZeneca – suppliers of the only two vaccines being used in the UK – have faced disruption to their shipments as they have scaled up manufacturing.
It comes after EU leaders arranged an urgent meeting with AstraZeneca executives after the company unexpectedly slashed its supply of vaccines to the bloc.
The jab-makers have blamed the EU’s supply chain for their failure to deliver the promised 80million vaccines by the end of March as part of a £300million deal.
AstraZeneca, which developed its shot with Oxford University, said on Friday they could only offer 31million vaccines in the first quarter, a cut of 60 per cent.
Furious EU officials said they will investigate their claims and have questioned why Britain is not suffering from similar delays in the rollout.
Peter Liese, an EU lawmaker from the same party as Angela Merkel, said: ‘The flimsy justification that there are difficulties in the EU supply chain but not elsewhere does not hold water, as it is of course no problem to get the vaccine from the UK to the continent.
‘AstraZeneca has been contractually obligated to produce since as early as October and they are apparently delivering to other parts of the world, including the UK without delay.’
The Anglo-Swedish drugmaker had received an up-front payment of 336 million euros (£298million) from the EU when they struck a deal in August, an EU official told Reuters.
78.7 per cent of all over 80s, almsot four in five.
TOP TEN JOBS WITH THE HIGHEST NUMBER OF CORONAVIRUS DEATHS, ACCORDING TO THE ONS
Taxi drivers, home carers, security guards and lorry drivers were among the professions suffering the highest number of deaths from coronavirus, official data shows.
Office for National Statistics (ONS) figures reveal there were 8,000 deaths in people aged between 20 and 64 in England and Wales last year, one twelfth of the total.
And of the more than 5,000 for which a profession was registered, the ONS compiled the statistics to show which were recording the highest number of deaths after an individual tested positive for the virus.
In men, the highest number of Covid-19 deaths was in taxi and cab drivers, 209, followed by security guards, 140, and lorry drivers, 118. And in women the highest number of Covid-19 deaths was in care workers, 240, sales assistants, 111, and nurses, 110.
Taxi and cab drivers
Large goods vehicle drivers
Care workers/Home carers
Processing plant workers
Bus and coach drivers
Number of Covid-19 deaths
Care workers/Home carers
Other administrative jobs
Number of Covid-19 deaths