UNITED KINGDOM: More than three quarters of U.K. adults have now received both doses of a Covid-19 vaccine, the government has said.
A total of 39,688,566 i.e. 75% of people have now been administered both doses, while another 7 million i.e. 89% of people have only had a single dose, according to the latest figures.
Prime Minister Boris Johnson described the milestone in the vaccine rollout as a “huge national achievement”.
Health Secretary Sajid Javid said the vaccines were “allowing us to reconnect with the things we love”, while vaccines minister Nadhim Zahawi said it had been “phenomenal to see first-hand the enthusiasm of the British public for the vaccines”.
However, Oxford Vaccine Group director Prof Sir Andrew Pollard has warned that herd immunity is “not a possibility” and “mythical” with the Delta variant, now dominant in the UK, and still infecting people who had been vaccinated. He said while vaccines might “slow the process” of transmission down, they currently cannot stop the spread completely.
Earlier Javid said that plans are in place to give the most vulnerable groups a third or booster Covid jab in September, which was criticised after Andrew told the All Party Parliamentary Group on coronavirus that any spare jabs should “go where they can have the greatest impact” to protect unvaccinated people abroad.
Data from Public Health England (PHE) shows Covid-19 vaccines are highly effective against hospitalization from the Delta variant – Pfizer-BioNTech vaccine is 96% effective and the Oxford-AstraZeneca, 92% effective against hospitalization after two doses.
The latest data from Public Health England and Cambridge University suggests that around 60,000 deaths, 22 million infections and 66,900 hospitalizations have been prevented by the vaccines.
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Vaccines are available free of charge and from thousands of vaccine centres, GP practices and pharmacies. Around 98% of people live within 10 miles of a vaccination centre in England and vaccinations are taking place at sites including mosques, community centres and football stadiums.
With all adults in the U.K. able to get their second doses after eight weeks, every adult has the chance to have two doses by mid-September.
People will be required to provide proof of both jabs to enter nightclubs and other venues where large crowds gather by the end of September.
From August 16, double vaccinated people will also no longer be required to self-isolate if they are identified as a close contact of a positive Covid-19 case.