14,000 lives saved and 45,000 hospitalisations prevented by Covid jab rollout

23 June 2021, 18:00 | Updated: 23 June 2021, 18:26

Nick Hardinges

By Nick Hardinges

The Covid jab rollout has saved more than 14,000 lives and prevented more than 44,500 hospitalisations in England alone, vaccines minister Nadhim Zahawi has said.

Speaking during Wednesday's coronavirus press conference, the minister told the nation that the vaccination programme is working and making the country "a little bit safer every day".

England's jab uptake has kept tens of thousands of people out of hospital and prevented thousands of deaths, Mr Zahawi said.

It comes as three in five UK adults have now received both doses of the Covid vaccine, while 82 per cent have been given at least one jab.

"The vaccines are our way out of this pandemic," the minister told the briefing.

"The latest data show that the vaccination programme has already saved over 14,000 lives, and I can share with you that now it has prevented over 44,500 hospitalisations in England alone."

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In the past two weeks, there have been 2,500 hospitalisations prevented in England, he added.

"When you look into the make-up of hospital admissions, you can clearly see our vaccination programme is working."

Mr Zahawi also said vaccine hesitancy has "halved in the past few months" among black and black British people and Asian and Asian British people.

He hailed the figures as "real progress" but warned that "we know there is much more to do".

The minister promised to accelerate efforts to get more people to come forward for their first jab, such as in London where the rollout is "slightly behind" other parts of the country.

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A summit will be held in the capital on Friday by NHS chiefs, clinicians and the mayor.

However, hospital admissions with coronavirus are rising but at a much slower rate than the increase in infections, senior Public Health England (PHE) official said during the briefing.

PHE head of immunisation Dr Mary Ramsay told the news conference that new infections were running at 10,000 to 11,000 a day.

She said: "This is showing us the evidence that the vaccine is working and it's breaking the link between cases and infection and hospitalisation."

Dr Nikki Kanani, medical director of primary care NHS England, said they were mounting a push this weekend with vaccine walk-ins to get the jab to more people.

She said more people were coming forward from ethnic communities to get the jab with take-up increasing faster in black African and Pakistani communities than in white backgrounds.

"Between mid-March and mid-June uptake in black and Asian communities has continued increasing from 75 to 86 per cent in Asian communities and jumping from 55 to 68 per cent in black communities," she said.

Mr Zahawi also said he is "confident" that 66 per cent of adults could have received two jabs by 19 July.

He told the briefing that we have got to keep going "at pace" to vaccinate "as many adults as we can to make sure that by the 19th (July), and I am confident of this, that we will have 66 per cent of the adult population with the protection of two jabs by that date the prime minister has set us."