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Jabs ‘allowing Britons to reclaim their lives’ as quarter of UK adults fully vaccinated

UK vaccine rollout should 'slow down to help India' says Bartley

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Ministers hailed another “terrific” milestone in the Covid-19 jab rollout, with more than 33.8 million people having received a first jab and 13.2 million getting their second dose. It came as figures showed weekly Covid-19 deaths in England and Wales have fallen by 97 percent since the peak of the second wave. NHS England yesterday opened booking for a vaccine to anyone aged 42 or over, just 24 hours after eligibility was extended to those aged 44.

Health Secretary Matt Hancock, who is 42, said he was “very excited” and “standing by my phone awaiting my text”.

He said: “This latest milestone is a terrific cause for celebration – over a quarter of all adults across the UK, including those most vulnerable to Covid-19, have now had two jabs, meaning they have received the strongest possible protection.

“Thank you to the brilliant NHS, volunteers, local authorities, Armed Forces and civil servants who continue to work tirelessly to vaccinate people as quickly as possible.”

NHS medical director Professor Stephen Powis said: “The rapid rollout of the NHS vaccination programme – the swiftest in Europe – hasn’t happened by accident. It is down to months of careful planning and sheer hard work by nurses, doctors and countless other staff supported by our volunteers.”

Just under 2.8 million second doses were recorded in the week to April 26. Almost 8.7 million have been given since April 1, compared with around 3.7 million second doses in March and just under 322,000 in February. A further 17 Covid-19 deaths were reported across the UK yesterday, down from 33 the previous Tuesday, along with 2,685 new cases.

Figures from the Office for National Statistics showed that 266 deaths occurred in the week ending April 9 where Covid-19 was recorded on the death certificate. This was down 97 percent in the week to January 22, the second wave peak. Meanwhile, a Public Health England study provided further evidence that vaccines are cutting transmission.

People who became infected with Covid-19 at least three weeks after receiving one dose of either the Pfizer or AstraZeneca jabs were between 38 and 49 percent less likely to pass infection on to those they lived with.

Protection was seen from around 14 days after vaccination, with similar levels regardless of age of cases or contacts.

Dr Mary Ramsay, head of immunisation at PHE, said: “Vaccines are vital in helping us return to a normal way of life.

“Not only do vaccines reduce the severity of illness and prevent hundreds of deaths every day, we now see they also have an additional impact on reducing the chance of passing Covid-19 on to others.”

But she warned: “Even if you have been vaccinated, it is important that you continue to act like you have the virus. Practise good hand hygiene and follow social distance guidance.”

Comment by Nadhim Zahawi 

AFTER months of tireless work from our exceptional NHS, we have hit a new milestone in the biggest vaccination programme in our history.

A quarter of the most vulnerable people have been fully vaccinated against this terrible disease.

Second doses are important to ensure people have the strongest possible protection from a virus that has taken millions of lives.

And this achievement shows people recognise the important role vaccines play in our return to normality.

Vaccines aren’t just having a positive impact on those who have received the jab either; new data from Public Health England shows that just one dose of a vaccine slashes household transmission of the virus by up to half.

This is strong real-world evidence that the vaccines aren’t just saving lives and keeping people safe from hospitalisation, they’re actually having a huge impact on preventing the virus from being passed on too.

It further reinforces that vaccines are the best way out of this pandemic.

To everyone that has played a part in this tremendous milestone – including the health and care staff who have worked so hard to get us to this point – I want to say thank you.

I also want to give my thanks to the Express for its continued support for the rollout of the UK’s vaccination programme and I urge Express readers to get your jab booked when offered.

This pandemic has taken so much from us all, but the vaccine is slowly allowing us to reclaim our country and our lives.

Now is the time to take up the offer, get your jab and join the millions of people who have been vaccinated.

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