The Health Secretary set out the next phase of the coronavirus vaccine rollout to Ben and Kate on Monday morning. After successfully hitting the target of vaccinating 15 million people by February 15, Matt Hancock insisted the Government’s ambition was to now press on and vaccinate all those in groups 1-9 by the end of April. This would see the Government switch focus to vaccinating the over-50s and could mean 32 million will have been offered jabs by May – nearly half the population.
The Health Secretary added he was confident the UK’s vaccine supply was able to meet the new ambitious target.
Mr Hancock said: “We do hope that the total quantity of supply per week will increase over time as the manufacturing gets faster, that is in the plan.
“What we can commit to is reaching all those in categories one to nine with the offer of a jab by the end of April whilst at the same time doing the second doses which are baked into the schedule.”
The 15 million total was passed after another 429,497 first vaccine doses were given in England in 24 hours, plus 2,186 second shots.
JUST IN: Brexit LIVE: EU shellfish ban a ‘sign of what is to come’ – academic
He continued: “But as well as offering the jab to all these groups and event despite the very high-take up that we have seen so far,
“We have got to keep driving that take-up upwards
“We have got to reach all those who have for various reasons in care homes, haven’t been able to be jabbed yet
“Because you can’t be jabbed within 28-days of testing positive.”
READ MORE: Boris Johnson considers letting households holiday from April as vaccine target met
Writing exclusively in the Daily Express, Mr Hancock has called the vaccination programme one of the “most ambitious operations in the modern history of the UK.
“This has been an enormous year of sacrifice, and we should take nothing for granted. But the hard work is paying off with every single jab that we give.”
“After all we’ve achieved, I know we can go forward with great confidence.”
While the total of vaccinations soared, cases of coronavirus continued to fall.
There were 10,972 more cases reported yesterday, taking recorded infections to just more than four million.
Another 258 people died within 28 days of a positive Covid test, making the death toll by that measure 117,166.