More than 50 million doses of coronavirus vaccine now given in England

22 May 2021, 16:36 | Updated: 22 May 2021, 20:55

England has passed the 50 million Covid jab milestone
England has passed the 50 million Covid jab milestone. Picture: PA

By Patrick Grafton-Green

More than 50 million doses of Covid-19 vaccination have now been given in England.

The latest NHS England figures show that 50,246,402 first and second doses were administered between December 8 and May 21.

This is a rise of 563,468 on the previous day.

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A total of 31,546,846 were first doses, a rise of 192,008, while 18,699,556 were second doses, an increase of 371,460.

NHS England's lead for the Covid vaccination programme, Dr Emily Lawson, said the rollout had “hit another outstanding milestone”.

She added: “This success is the result of the tireless efforts of NHS teams, alongside local partners and volunteers, who are determined to protect their patients, families and communities. 

“Despite this we must take nothing for granted so if you are invited please book your appointment – and along with millions of others get vital protection against coronavirus.”

A further six people died within 28 days of testing positive for Covid as of Saturday, bringing the UK total to 127,716, while there were a further 2,694 lab-confirmed cases.

It comes as people aged 32 and 33 in England are now able to book their first jab.

Health Secretary Matt Hancock said extending the rollout to 32 and 33-year-olds was "an incredible step forward in the biggest and most successful vaccination programme in NHS history" and urged people to get their jab when contacted.

Text message invitations are being sent to people aged 33 from Saturday and people aged 32 from Monday.

Since eligibility was widened for people under 40 just over a week ago, 2.6 million more bookings have already been made, the NHS has said.

Meanwhile, surge testing is being carried out in four London boroughs after cases of the Indian coronavirus variant were detected.

NHS Test and Trace is providing additional testing and genomic sequencing in education settings and targeted areas across Harrow, Ealing, Hillingdon and Brent, following the identification of the B1617.2 strain.

Local authorities will shortly confirm the areas where additional testing will be offered within the boroughs.

The cases found have been instructed to self-isolate and their contacts are being identified.

It was also revealed on Saturday that a study by Public Health England (PHE) found the Pfizer vaccine is 88% effective against the Indian variant after two doses.

Both the Pfizer and AstraZeneca jabs were found to be almost as effective against symptomatic disease from the strain as they are against the Kent variant after the second dose.

Mr Hancock described the outcome as "groundbreaking", while PHE said it expects to see even higher levels of effectiveness against hospital admission and death.