Over 21 million Covid jabs now in the UK with enough doses to vaccinate over-70s, healthcare staff & care home residents
OVER 21 million coronavirus jabs are now in the UK, says a report.
It comes as a boost to the government’s target to vaccinate all over-70s, care home residents and health workers by February 15 in a bid to loosen lockdown restrictions.
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According to the Daily Mail, not all of the vaccines have passed regulatory checks or been put into vials – though the news marks a significant moment as the government races to vaccinate the 15 million most vulnerable Brits.
Around 2.6 million Brits have already received their first dose of the Covid jab, the latest government figures show.
And a total of 223,726 people had their first dose yesterday – surpassing the government’s target of 200,000 jabs a day.
Astrazeneca, the pharmaceutical giant who helped develop the Oxford University jab, is set to double the number of vaccines released to the NHS by next week. The firm expects to increase production to two million doses a week.
According to the Mail, Astrazeneca already has enough vaccine in the country for 19 million doses, of which 1.1 million has been supplied.
Regulators are set to approve a batch of a further one million doses, which are currently in vials, next week. Meanwhile, another 15 million doses are currently at factories in Wrexham, Oxford and Staffordshire.
Astrazeneca expect to have provided a total of 40 million doses by the end of March – the same month that the highly effective Moderna jab will also become available.
The Medicines and Healthcare products Regulatory Agency has not yet approved the batches for use, though health officials are confident this will be resolved soon, the Mail reports.
Tom Keith-Roach, president of AstraZeneca UK, told MPs yesterday: “We are scaling up very rapidly, and this will happen imminently, to releasing two million doses a week.”
A government source told The Sun that the UK was “in a good place” with regards to vaccine supply.
They said: “We’re in a good place and have enough to meet our pledge, with supply continuously improving.
“We are already vaccinating more than 200,000 a day and are nowhere near capacity.
“"If things go smoothly we could well be doing 400,000 a day — three million a week — by the start of February.”
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It comes as Boris Johnson vowed that Brits will be able to get a Covid jab 24/7.
The PM pledged to set up round-the-clock vaccination centres “as soon as we can” — and hailed The Sun’s Jabs Army drive, urging 450,000 civil servants to join to help the roll-out.
Widespread vaccination is seen as the safest exit strategy from the pandemic, which has claimed the lives of 84,767 Brits.
The UK saw its deadliest day yet in the pandemic yesterday, with a record 1,564 deaths.
A total of 84,767 have died of the virus during the pandemic but the total number of deaths involving coronavirus could be higher than 100,000, according to Press Association.
And Boris Johnson warned of further hardship in the weeks ahead despite the vaccine offering a light at the end of the tunnel.
The PM warned there is a “substantial risk” that the NHS will run out of intensive care beds as hospitals struggle to cope with a surge in Covid cases.
With a record 32,689 Covid patients in hospital, Mr Johnson admitted the situation was “very, very tough” and the strain on medics was “colossal”.
In-patient numbers are currently up 18 per cent over the week, and are 70 per cent higher than the peak of the first wave in April, The Independent reports.
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