Record day for virus vaccinations in UK
London – A record 598 389 people were given their first coronavirus vaccination in one day across the United Kingdom on Saturday, government figures show.
As of Saturday a total of 8 977 329 people had received a jab, and 491 053 of those have had a second dose.
Health Secretary Matt Hancock said he was “delighted”, adding each vaccine “brings us one step closer to normal”.
However, a further 587 deaths within 28 days of a positive COVID test were reported on Sunday.
It takes the UK’s total by that measure to 106 158, although the number of reported deaths tends to be lower over the weekend.
In a video posted on Twitter, Hancock said he was “so grateful to everybody who’s involved in making this happen”, and said it meant three-quarters of those aged 75 to 79 and four-fifths of those over 80 had now been vaccinated.
Sir Jeremy Farrar, director of the Wellcome Trust and a member of the government’s Scientific Advisory Group for Emergencies (Sage), described the volume of vaccinations as a “staggering achievement”.
Earlier, the health secretary predicted “a happy and free Great British summer” but warned of a “a tough few months” as national restrictions continue across the UK while vaccinations are administered.
His comments came after Dr Susan Hopkins, Public Health England’s Covid strategy chief, warned that ending the current coronavirus lockdown must happen “very slowly, very cautiously”.
“It is better to be cautious, let’s get the population vaccinated,” she told the BBC’s Andrew Marr.
England’s current lockdown will continue until March 8, when it is hoped schools could begin to reopen, while national restrictions are also in place across Wales, Scotland and Northern Ireland. (BBC)