Everybody within the high 4 precedence teams has been provided a coronavirus vaccine, the well being secretary has confirmed.
Talking to Sky Information, Matt Hancock mentioned the federal government had met its goal for providing a COVID-19 jab to throughout 70s by Monday’s deadline.
Uptake has been “a lot greater than we anticipated”, he mentioned.
Mr Hancock mentioned the milestone was a “little step in direction of freedom for us all”, however there was “no relaxation for the depraved”.
Letters at the moment are being despatched to these aged over 65 and the clinically weak to ask them to obtain the primary dose of a vaccine.
The federal government is aiming to supply a vaccine to the 17 million in teams 5 to 9 by the top of April, one thing that can be accomplished alongside administering second doses for a lot of within the first 4 teams.
“There’s a large programme beneath method rolling out to ask the subsequent group of individuals to be vaccinated and, on the similar time, from subsequent month we now have the second jabs of all of the individuals who have come since January to ensure they occur on time, as a result of they need to be inside a selected 12-week time interval,” the well being secretary mentioned.
“So there’s nonetheless an enormous quantity of labor to do however we now have managed to vaccinate those that are most weak.”
Mr Hancock mentioned the variety of coronavirus deaths is falling, however it’s “too early” to say whether or not this can be a direct results of the UK’s vaccination programme.
“It’s too early to have the ability to measure the direct influence however after all we’re taking a look at that and we are able to see general that the variety of instances is coming down sharply, the quantity in hospitals is coming down however it’s nonetheless too excessive – on the newest depend there have been 23,000 individuals in hospital with COVID,” he mentioned.
The UK’s speedy vaccine rollout has raised hopes of England’s present lockdown – the third of the pandemic – being eased within the weeks to come back.
Prime Minister Boris Johnson will set out his plan for enjoyable restrictions on 22 February, with the potential for faculties to return from eight March.
Greater than 60 Conservative backbenchers are mentioned to have backed a letter to the PM from the lockdown-sceptic COVID Recovery Group (CRG), which mentioned there can be “no justification” for restrictions to stay as soon as all over-50s have been provided a jab.
Requested about this backbench stress, the well being secretary mentioned: “All people desires to get out of this as rapidly as we safely can – each as rapidly but additionally as safely is necessary. That is what everybody agrees with.
“The query is a judgment of how rapidly and the way safely – that is the judgment we can be making this week, wanting on the knowledge forward of the prime minister setting out the highway map on February 22, every week from immediately.”