Watch: UK passes 60m jabs milestone
Health Secretary Matt Hancock has hailed a “huge day” for the UK after it reached the milestone of 60 million vaccines.
He tweeted: “HUGE day for vaccinations yesterday – 762,361 given across UK.
“We’ve now done 60 million vaccines across the UK.
“This is a fantastic milestone in our fight against this virus.
“Thank you to everyone involved in our national effort.
“When you get the call, get the jab.”
Government data up to May 22 shows that of the 60,587,098 jabs given in the UK so far, 37,943,681 were first doses – a rise of 205,410 on the previous day.
Some 22,643,417 were second doses, an increase of 556,951.
There was further cause for celebration when figures showed the number of Covid-19 vaccine second doses administered in the UK hit a record daily high yesterday.
Some 556,951 jabs containing people’s second dose were given on May 22, surpassing April 24 when 547,636 were administered.
Mr Hancock said: “Shortly after vaccinating over 70% of adults in the UK with a first dose, we have hit yet another incredible milestone with over 60 million doses delivered in total.
“Our trailblazing vaccination programme, the biggest and most successful in NHS history, is another great British success story and a testament to what can be achieved when all four corners of the country comes together to defeat this virus.”
Some 762,361 first and second doses were administered on Saturday, the highest daily combined total since March 20.
It comes as the chief executive of the UK Health Security Agency said the possibility of all coronavirus restrictions being lifted next month is “looking good”.
Under the Government’s road map, the final stage of the unlocking is due to take place on June 21 at the earliest.
However, Dr Jenny Harries urged the public to be cautious to avoid another lockdown, warning that the new Indian variant, also known as the B1617.2 strain, has become the “dominant strain” in some parts of the country.
She told BBC One’s The Andrew Marr Show: “It’s looking good if people are continuing to observe all of the safety signals, so we should not stop doing what we’re doing, particularly in areas where we have that variant of concern, the B1617.2, in the north-west and around London.
“It’s really important that people continue to do hands, face, space and work from home, have their jabs and go for tests as well.
“The cases of the B1617.2 variant are rising, they have risen very steeply and much of the media have reported a 160% rise in cases over the week period but they seem to be slightly levelling at the moment.
“It’s still very early days.”
Her comments come after a study by Public Health England (PHE) found that the Pfizer coronavirus vaccine is 88% effective against the Indian variant after two doses.
Health Secretary Matt Hancock described the outcome as “groundbreaking”, while PHE said it expects to see even higher levels of effectiveness against hospital admission and death.
The study, which took place between April 5 and May 16, found that the jab was found to be almost as effective against symptomatic disease from the B1617.2 strain as it is against the Kent variant, with 93% effectiveness.
Meanwhile, the AstraZeneca jab was 60% effective, compared with 66% against the Kent variant over the same period.
Both vaccines were 33% effective against symptomatic disease from the Indian variant three weeks after the first dose, compared with about 50% against the Kent strain.
New data from PHE shows there have been at least 2,889 cases of the Indian variant recorded in England from February 1 this year to May 18.
Watch: Pfizer and AstraZeneca jabs effective against Indian variant