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UK hits 50 million Covid vaccines doses as ministers hail 'super human' NHS
3 May 2021, 14:18 | Updated: 3 May 2021, 20:10
The UK has surpassed 50 million Covid vaccinations in another milestone in the fight against the pandemic.
Vaccines Minister Nadhim Zahawi hailed the moment as "a good day", adding: "So so proud of the “super humans” making this possible. NHS incredible people doing extraordinary things for their country."
Meanwhile, Matt Hancock hailed the total as a "massive achievement" and thanked all those who have been involved in "a huge national effort".
In an ecstatic video posted on Twitter, the health secretary said: "It seems like only yesterday that Margaret Keenan was getting the first clinically authorised vaccine in the world and now we've delivered 50 million!
"This is so important, of course, because it is a life-saving vaccine that helps protect you, helps protect those around you and it is our route out of this pandemic."
We’ve just delivered the 50 millionth jab across the UK!— Matt Hancock (@MattHancock) May 3, 2021
Massive achievement from the team.
These jabs are saving lives and helping us get back to normal.
Thank you to everyone who has played their part in our national effort.
When you get the call, get the jab. pic.twitter.com/BlSWwVGma6
The success of the vaccine program could mean social distancing rules are finally scrapped after over a year of restrictions.
Speaking on a trip to Hartlepool, Boris Johnson said: "As things stand, and the way things are going, with the vaccine rollout going the way that it is - we have done 50 million jabs as I speak to you today, quarter of the adult population, one in four have had two jabs.
"You are seeing the results of that really starting to show up in the epidemiology.
"I think that we will be able to go ahead, feels like May 17 is going to be good.
"But it also looks to me as though June 21 we'll be able to say social distancing as we currently have to do it, the one-metre plus, I think we have got a good chance of being able to dispense with the one-metre plus from June 21."
As the number of vaccinated people increases, pressure is also growing on the government for foreign travel restrictions to be eased extensively on 17 May.
Paul Charles, chief executive of travel consultancy The PC Agency, claimed the "best financial support the Government can now offer the travel sector is to open up overseas travel as planned from the 17th May", something he said can be done "safely with widespread testing".
It comes as the European Commission has proposed to ease restrictions on travel to countries in the bloc amid progressing vaccination campaigns and lower infection rates.
However, a cross-party group of MPs have urged the government to "discourage all international leisure travel" to protect the UK from Covid-19 variants.
It claimed the importation of new variants could "lead to further lockdowns, and inevitably, further loss of life".
The All-Party Parliamentary Group described airport arrival halls as "a breeding ground for infection" and recommended passengers returning from green, amber and red countries under the new risk-based traffic light system do not mix.