The Department of Health and Social Care (DHSC) has announced that over a quarter of adults in the UK have now received both doses of a COVID-19 vaccine in the latest vaccination milestone.
The UK government has now offered a first COVID-19 vaccine dose to all individuals in cohorts one to nine, which includes people over the age of 50 years old, the clinically vulnerable and health and social care workers.
The latest milestone means that one in four adults in the UK now have the ‘strongest possible protection’ against COVID-19.
The NHS has now also started to offer vaccinations to those aged 42- and 43-years-old.
Recently, data from the Office of National Statistics (ONS) and Oxford University demonstrated that COVID-19 infections dropped by 65% following the first dose of the AstraZeneca/Oxford or Pfizer/BioNTech vaccines.
In those over the age of 70, the AstraZeneca/Oxford or Pfizer/BioNTech vaccines also reduced the risk of developing symptomatic disease by around 60% after a single dose, according to the latest vaccine effectiveness data from Public Health England.
“This latest milestone is a terrific cause for celebration – over a quarter of all adults across the UK, including those most vulnerable to COVID-19, have now had two jabs, meaning they have received the strongest possible protection,” said Health and Social Care Secretary Matt Hancock.
“There is undeniable evidence that vaccines are saving lives, significantly reducing hospitalisations and deaths. I urge all those who are offered an appointment to get their jab and join the millions of people who now have protection from this terrible disease,” he added.
Commenting on the latest vaccination milestone, Ruth Rankine, primary care director at the NHS Confederation, urged caution: “We need to continue to follow the rules, maintaining social distancing and wearing masks to make sure the progress we have made in recent weeks can continue.
“With growing numbers of cases in the UK of mutant strains of the virus, we must not fall into the trap of believing the crisis is over. No one is protected, until everyone is protected,” she added.