More than one million people in the UK have received a COVID-19 vaccine, Matt Hancock has revealed.
The Health Secretary said the "end is in sight" as the country reached the milestone in its race to vaccinate the population against coronavirus.
Vaccinations began almost a month ago after the UK became the first country in the world to approve the Pfizer/BioNtech jab that was developed in the US.
Hancock tweeted on Saturday: "Huge THANK YOU to everyone playing their part in the national effort to beat coronavirus.
Today’s approval of the @UniofOxford / @AstraZeneca #coronavirus vaccine is a great day for British science supported by the UK government & NHS.
THANK YOU to all those involved
— Matt Hancock (@MattHancock) December 30, 2020
"Over a million people have been vaccinated already.
"With the vaccine roll-out accelerating, the end is in sight & we will get through this together."
It comes after the Oxford/AstraZeneca vaccine was approved for use earlier this week, meaning the UK will soon have enough vaccine doses to immunise the entire population.
The first 530,000 jabs are expected to be rolled out on Monday with the potential for 24 million people to get the jab before Easter.
By the middle of January, two million doses of the Oxford vaccine are expected to be supplied weekly, a source told The Times.
A member of the Oxford/AstraZeneca team said: "The plan is to build it up fairly rapidly - by the third week of January we should get two million a week."
Second doses of either vaccine will now take place within 12 weeks rather than 21 days as initially planned.
Deputy chairman of the Joint Committee on Vaccination and Immunisation (JCVI), Professor Anthony Harnden, defended the plans.
He told BBC Radio 4's Today programme on Saturday that patients he had dealt with accepted the move, stating: "When it was explained to them that the vaccine offers 90% protection for one dose, and the priority was to get as many people vaccinated in the elderly and vulnerable community as possible, they understood.
"I think the country is all in this together.
"And, I think we really, really want to pull together to try and do the best strategy possible."
Meanwhile, England's Chief Medical Officer Chris Whitty warned that COVID vaccine shortages “will last for months” despite the newly approved Oxford/AstraZeneca vaccine improving supply issues.
But both Pfizer and Oxford/AstraZenica have refuted reports of shortages.
Watch: Altmann: Price for getting vaccine wrong could be very high
Pfizer said in a statement today: "We do not have any supply issues from our side at this point with regards to what has been agreed with the UK."
Meanwhile, Dr Mary Ramsay, head of immunisations at PHE, told Sky News that mixing is not recommended and should only happen on "rare occasions".
"We do not recommend mixing the COVID-19 vaccines - if your first dose is the Pfizer vaccine you should not be given the AstraZeneca vaccine for your second dose and vice versa," she said.
"There may be extremely rare occasions where the same vaccine is not available, or where it is not known what vaccine the patient received.
"Every effort should be made to give them the same vaccine, but where this is not possible it is better to give a second dose of another vaccine than not at all."
Meanwhile, medical experts and public officials said the North of England is bracing for a devastating COVID-19 wave as the new variant continues to spread across the UK.
The mutant coronavirus strain was first detected in the South East before Christmas and has been found to be 70% more transmissible.
Several London hospitals like UCH and the Royal London have issued desperate pleas for more staff in the last 24 hours as COVID wards fill up rapidly.
A nurse, who works at the Whittington Hospital in north London, described the "unbearable" conditions as Covid-19 patient numbers continue to rise.
The nurse described patients being left in corridors, some spending up to three hours in ambulances because of a lack of beds and one left without oxygen when their cylinder ran out.
The nurse said: "I'm worried about patient safety because if these little things are happening now when we're short and it's busy, it's only going to get worse.
"I don't know what else will happen - it worries me."
The number of Covid-19 patients in hospitals is at record levels in many areas of England - including London, the South West and the Midlands - with admissions rising above the levels seen during the first wave.
On Friday, NHS England said a further 420 deaths in the UK were reported and 50,668 cases were confirmed.
Watch: How does the AstraZeneca/Oxford vaccine work?