491,970 Covid vaccines given in one day as death toll rises by 610

24 January 2021, 16:14 | Updated: 24 January 2021, 17:34

The UK is ramping up its vaccine progress
The UK is ramping up its vaccine progress. Picture: PA

By Kate Buck

A further 610 people have died in the UK within 28 days of testing positive for Covid-19, taking the total to 97,939.

A further 30,004 cases have been reported in the most recent 24 hour period - a fall of 22% from the week before.

But the UK is rapidly speeding up the vaccination process, with a new record-high number of 491,970 first doses administered in just 24 hours, taking the total number who have received a first dose to 6.35 million.

The news of the expanding number of the population have some protection against the virus has come with a warning, as Deputy Chief Medical Officer Jonathan Van Tam last night warning those who have had the jab may still be able to spread Covid-19.

Urging people to continue to follow lockdown rules, Professor Van Tam said: “Through the vaccination programme, millions of the most vulnerable to COVID-19 are being given significant protection from this virus - a fantastic achievement."

“However, regardless of whether someone has had their vaccination or not, it is vital that everyone follows the national restrictions and public health advice, as protection takes up to 3 weeks to kick in and we don’t yet know the impact of vaccines on transmission.

“The vaccine is rightly something to celebrate - let’s stay patient, stay at home and support the NHS as it continues to roll out the vaccine.”

His warning comes as the Prime Minister warned a new Covid-19 variant first seen in London and the South West could be deadlier than the original virus.

Scientists have warned there can be no early easing of lockdown rules because of the new variant.

Read more: Health Secretary 'hopes' schools will reopen by Easter

Read more: Vaccines may not stop Covid spread, warns Van Tam

Earlier today, Former health secretary Lord Lansley told LBC he thinks the current lockdown will last until May.

Lord Lansley, who was health secretary from 2010-2012, told Tom Swarbrick: “The national lockdown is going to last until May. Why would it not?”

Schools will be the first to return, he predicted, but said he expects this not to be “until the end of March”, when all those over 50 have been vaccinated.

“The risk of course is that we get to Easter, we have done those vaccinations for the over 50s but the pressure on the NHS hasn’t abated because there is a time lag between the number of cases we are experiencing and the pressure on the NHS,” he continued.

“That is what makes me think we are looking at late April rather than Easter.”