UK vaccinations on target, but long way to go: PM

British Prime Minister Boris Johnson hailed a "significant milestone" on Sunday (February 14) as the UK hit its initial target to deliver 15 million first doses of COVID-19 vaccinations.

After becoming the first country in the world to approve a vaccine, the British government began its ambitious program in early December, with the aim to offer a shot to everyone in its top 4 priority groups -- including all care home residents and frontline healthcare workers.

“Today we have reached a significant milestone in the United Kingdom's national vaccination program.”

“It has been a truly national, UK-wide effort. We have done it together. And I want to thank each and every person who has helped make it happen. You can be incredibly proud of the part you have played. And thanks also to everyone who has had a jab so far, giving protection not just to yourself but also to your fellow citizens and to the NHS.”

The vaccine program is seen as one of few successes in the UK government's handling of a pandemic that has left the country with one of the biggest death tolls in the world.

“We've still got a long way to go. And there will undoubtedly be bumps in the road. But after all we've achieved, I know we can go forward with great confidence."

The rapid progress is fueling calls for the authorities to start relaxing tight lockdown measures in force across the UK.