More than 600,000 people in UK have received first dose of COVID vaccine
Written by on 24 December 2020
More than 600,000 people in the UK have received the first dose of the Pfizer/BioNTech vaccine, the Department of Health and Social Care has said.
Figures show that between 8 December and 20 December, a total of 616,933 people received the jab.
Under government guidance, in line with advice from the Joint Committee on Vaccination and Immunisation (JCVI), the vaccines have been administered to care home residents, those aged 80 and over and health and social care staff through more than 500 vaccination sites across the UK.
A look back at the historic vaccine rollout
The vaccine roll out in care homes in England and Wales began on 16 December, with hundreds of residents vaccinated across care homes in Slough, Aintree, Herne Bay, Thanet, Chalfont St Peter, Droitwich, Cheltenham and Flintshire, as well as the Chelsea Pensioners in London.
In Scotland, they began on 14 December and in Northern Ireland it was 8 December.
The number of people who have received their first dose of the vaccine in each of the four nations is 521,594 in England, 56,676 in Scotland, 22,595 in Wales and 16,068 in Northern Ireland.
Health Secretary Matt Hancock said: “Thanks to a huge effort from the NHS to overcome significant logistical challenges, 616,933 people across the UK have had their jab of the coronavirus vaccine.
“In just over three weeks, the NHS in every part of the UK has already set up hundreds of vaccination sites to ensure those most in need can receive their jab as quickly as possible.
“This is just the beginning and we are continually expanding our vaccination programme to help everyone get back to normal in the future.”
Vaccine deployment minister Nadhim Zahawi added he was “extremely proud” the UK was the first place to be roll out the vaccine.
“The NHS across the UK is working incredibly hard to scale up the vaccination programme as fast as they can to make sure everyone on the priority list can get their vaccine easily,” he said.
The Pfizer/BioNTech vaccine was the first vaccine to be approved by the UK’s regulatory body, the MHRA, on 2 December. The government began rolling them out a week later.
Patients require two doses of the vaccine for it to be most effective.
The second one is given 21 days after the first dose.