COVID-19: Vaccinations top 15 million - government poised to announce mid-February target reached

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More than 15 million people in the UK have received a first dose of a coronavirus jab, vaccines minister Nadhim Zahawi has said.

The figure means the government is expected to announce soon the target of offering first vaccinations to everyone in the top four priority groups by 15 February has been met.

While the 15 million vaccinations was a key indicator of the ambitious target set out by the prime minister on 4 January, it isn't known how many people outside the top priority groups have been jabbed so that no dose is wasted.

The target groups are:

  • Care home residents and their carers

  • Frontline health and social care workers

  • Everyone 70 and older

  • Clinically extremely vulnerable people

The government has been praised for the speed of its vaccine rollout, way ahead of its European neighbours.

More than half a million people per day had the jab on Thursday and Friday, with the seven-day average for the first shot running at over 441,000.

Margaret Keenan, 90, was in the media spotlight on 8 December when she became the first person in the world to get the Pfizer vaccine outside of a clinical trial.

The AstraZeneca-Oxford vaccine was also approved on 30 December, which helped dramatically boost the number of shots available.

Last month the programme expanded rapidly to include larger vaccination centres, smaller GP-run centres, as well as some pharmacies and hospitals.

Mosques, museums rugby grounds and cathedrals are now also among more than 1,500 sites across the country.

From Monday, over-65s and more clinically vulnerable people also become eligible for the vaccine.

Almost 1.2 million letters were due to arrive on Saturday asking people to register for their jabs as part of the next phase of the UK's vaccination programme.

People who receive a letter will be able to choose where they receive their vaccine from more than 100 large-scale vaccination centres or almost 200 pharmacy services.