The Department of Health and Social Care (DHSC) has announced that over four million people in the UK have now received their first dose of a COVID-19 vaccine.
Between 8 December 2020 and 17 January 2021, a total of 4.06 million people have been vaccinated by the NHS. This includes over half of people aged 80 years and older, as well as over half of elderly care home residents.
Prime Minister Boris Johnson has previously set a tatget of offering COVID-19 vaccines to the top four priority groups by the middle of February, which consists of around 15 million people.
Yesterday, the NHS began offering vaccines to those aged 70 years and over and the clinically extremely vulnerable in England – reflecting the next two priority groups identified by the Joint Committee on Vaccination and Immunisation (JCVI).
The first two priority groups which have been receiving their vaccines include care home residents and staff, people aged 80 and over and frontline health and care staff.
“This is the biggest medical deployment in British history and it’s one of the biggest civilian operations that this country’s ever undertaken,” said Health Secretary Matt Hancock.
“We’re on track to deliver our plan to vaccinate the most vulnerable groups by the middle of February, the groups that account for 88% of COVID-19 deaths.
“Our approach is, of course, to save as many lives as possible – as quickly as possible and to reduce the pressure on the NHS,” he added.