This week more than 4 million are expected to receive a jab, which is nearly double the number of vaccines that were being administered weekly in past weeks, according to NHS sources. At the forecasted rate, all over 50s in the UK will have received at least one jab by the end of the month, placing the vaccination programme two weeks ahead of schedule.
Deputy chairman of the Joint Committee on Vaccination and Immunisation (JCVI), Professor Anthony Harnden, hailed the figures as “tremendously successful”.
He also highlighted the rapidly decreasing number of deaths and hospital admissions.
Speaking to BBC Breakfast, he said: “In primary care, we’re still vaccinating cohort six – all with underlying illness – and some of seven.
“But, throughout the country, we’re going down to cohort nine.
“Most people over the age of 50 will be vaccinated really within the next few weeks, so it is tremendously successful.
“Those first nine priority groups included 99 percent of all hospitalisations and deaths, certainly in wave one of the pandemic, so we’re feeling very optimistic.
“We’re seeing a very sharp reduction in the deaths and hospitalisations throughout the country.”
The new data brings fresh hopes lockdowns could soon end permanently.
Former Scientific Advisory Group for Emergencies (SAGE) adviser Neil ferguson recently suggested the UK could enjoy a lockdown-free summer.