Ten million coronavirus jabs have been given to Londoners, with health chiefs hailing it as a “brilliant achievement”.
Official figures from NHS England will confirm that the number of first and second doses broke through the landmark number last night.
But the capital, which lags behind the rest of the country, was urged to maintain efforts to get all seven million adults double-vaccinated to ensure maximum protection against a feared fourth wave of Covid-19 in the autumn.
More than 1.3 million Londoners remain unvaccinated and almost four million more jabs still have to be given to get the city’s adult population fully inoculated. It came as Imperial College London experts highlighted the benefits of vaccination, with their latest study finding that double-jabbed people were up to 60 per cent less likely to contract Covid.
Health Secretary Sajid Javid told the Standard: “We have hit 10 million Covid-19 vaccines administered in the capital — a brilliant achievement.
“Uptake rates in London remain slightly lower than the rest of the country and I urge everybody to come forward as soon as possible for their first and second jabs as we pass this important milestone. Getting both doses of the vaccine is the most important thing you can do to help build a wall of defence around our capital and our country as we learn to live safely with this virus.”
Mayor Sadiq Khan said: “I’m incredibly proud that more than 10 million doses of the Covid-19 vaccine have been given to Londoners. Every day we are seeing the huge difference that this vaccine is making in our fight against the virus, as it helps to prevent infections and save lives.
“But as our city opens up, it’s vital that our pace does not slow. We’re working closely with the NHS to make it as accessible as possible and I urge all Londoners who haven’t yet had the vaccine, or need to get their second dose, to book their appointment or attend one of the many walk-in vaccination clinics as soon as possible.”
In other developments :
Government minister Michelle Donelan said advice from the Joint Committee on Vaccination and Immunisation (JCVI) on whether to offer the jab to 16 and 17-year-olds was due imminently. Professor Steven Riley, of Imperial College, said such a move would have a “really good knock-on effect” on reducing Covid transmission.
The Government was expected to scrap France’s “amber plus” listing for foreign travel, meaning double-jabbed people returning to England would not have to quarantine.
Hopes were also rising that Spain would not be put on the “red list”, with several other EU countries possibly moving from “amber” to “green”.
The Office for National Statistics estimated that almost 94 per cent of Londoners had Covid antibodies in the week ending July 18. By the end of Monday, a total of 9,987,319 jabs had been given to Londoners — meaning only 12,681 more were needed to hit 10 million.
Health sources said the 10 million figure was reached earlier than expected this week after a “data backlog” was cleared, increasing the total by almost 123,000 on Monday — about four times the average daily rate.
Across London, more than 80.6 per cent of the 6,954,983 population aged 18 or older has had one jab and 63 per cent have had both jabs. But analysis of the NHS figures shows wide disparity between boroughs, with three — Richmond, Ealing and Hounslow — having given first jabs to more than 90 per cent of residents.
By comparison, only 63.9 per cent of Westminster residents, and 66.5 per cent of Camden residents, have had a first jab. This is partly believed to be because some wealthy residents will have left London for second homes.
On second jabs, Richmond has the highest figure of 79.1 per cent. Harrow, Bromley, Merton and Hounslow are also above 70 per cent. But boroughs such as Tower Hamlets (50.5 per cent), Camden (51.2 per cent) and Hackney (53.3 per cent) have barely double-vaccinated half their residents.
Mr Javid said jabs would enable people to go on foreign holidays, and emphasised that proof of vaccination would be required for large music events and nightclubs from September.
“Please do not delay — if you haven’t received your jab yet, do the right thing and book it as soon as possible,” he said.
Sir David Sloman, regional director of the NHS in London, said: “It is fantastic that 10 million Covid vaccinations have been given to Londoners. I thank the many dedicated NHS staff, partners and volunteers who have helped us to reach this tremendous milestone.”
Today’s React 1 study by Imperial College found that fully-vaccinated people were three times less likely than unvaccinated people to test positive.
Across England, there are about 2.8 million 18-29-year olds who are not vaccinated.
Dr Tom Wingfield, of the Liverpool School of Tropical Medicine, said the React study showed that the recent rise in cases had been driven by the Delta variant and infections in young, unvaccinated people.
He said: “Even with extremely high vaccine coverage, we are highly likely to have a further wave of SARS-CoV infections in the autumn. By September… schools and universities will be returning and there will be an inevitable increase in social mixing.”