Half of UK adults receive first Covid-19 vaccine dose

20 March 2021, 11:18 | Updated: 21 March 2021, 10:06

Matt Hancock issued a video urging people to get the jab when contacted
Matt Hancock issued a video urging people to get the jab when contacted. Picture: Twitter/Matt Hancock

By Asher McShane

Half of the UK's adult population has now received a first vaccination against Covid-19, and health officials confirmed the country has broken its daily jab record for second day in a row, with more than 711,000 doses administered.

Government data up to March 19 shows that of the 28,985,958 jabs given in the UK so far, 26,853,407 were first doses - a rise of 589,675 on the previous day.

Some 2,132,551 were second doses, an increase of 121,481, meaning that there a total of 711,156 jabs given on Friday.

In a tweet, the Health Secretary said: "I'm delighted that the team administered a record number of vaccines yesterday: 711,156 across the UK 🇬🇧

"A huge THANK YOU to everyone coming forward to get your jab - this is our route to normal."

It follows the news that half of the UK's adult population has received their first Covid-19 jab.

Matt Hancock said: "Yesterday we vaccinated more people than any day yet.

"I'm delighted to be able to say that we've now vaccinated HALF of all adults in the UK.

"The vaccine is a national success story & our way out of this pandemic. When you get the call, get the jab."

Figures released yesterday showed 660,276 vaccinations took place across the UK, a record figure in the vaccination programme.

And on Friday, a total of 711,156 doses were given across the UK on Friday, vaccinations minister Nadim Zahawi confirmed.

The figures up to March 18 showed more than 26.2 million people in the UK have had at least one dose - 49.86% of the population, this figure has now been surpassed, with 50.47% of adults in England having received a jab.

The number of people in the UK who have received two doses has gone above two million at 2.01 million, or 3.82% of UK adults.

On Friday, Boris Johnson gave a double thumbs-up to mark his vaccination as he was given the jab at Westminster Bridge Vaccination Centre at St Thomas' Hospital in central London shortly after 6.30pm.

Leaving hospital he told reporters: "I literally did not feel a thing and so it was very good, very quick and I cannot recommend it too highly.

"Everybody, when you get your notification to go for a jab please go and get it. It is the best thing for you, best thing for your family and for everybody else."

The UK's vaccination programme stands in stark contrast to the jab rollout in Europe, with the continent facing a third wave of the virus and nations including France and Poland entering new lockdowns from today.

Germany too is facing the prospect of tougher covid restrictions with Chancellor Angela Merkel saying the virus is in "exponential growth" in the country.

Europe has been going through a chaotic vaccine rollout. In the latest volley from Europe, Ursula von der Leyen has threatened to halt exports of AstraZeneca vaccines in a deepening row. She told Germany's Funke media group: 'We have the option of banning a planned export. 

"That's the message to AstraZeneca: you fulfil your contract with Europe first before you start delivering to other countries."

European countries are seeing pockets of the South African variant, with studies suggesting vaccines work less well against this variant.

In the UK, hospital admissions and deaths are still coming down due to the effect of vaccines, but there are worries that cases could rise quickly once restrictions are eased.