Almost half of UK adults have now had at least one Covid-19 jab

17 March 2021, 15:27 | Updated: 17 March 2021, 16:00

The number of people in the UK who have received at least one Covid-19 vaccine dose has passed 25 million, it has been confirmed
The number of people in the UK who have received at least one Covid-19 vaccine dose has passed 25 million, it has been confirmed. Picture: PA

By Kate Buck

The number of people in the UK who have received at least one Covid-19 vaccine dose has passed 25 million, it has been confirmed.

The number means almost half of the adult population have already been vaccinated and will soon develop strong protection from serious illness, saving countless lives and significantly reducing pressure on the NHS.

Figures out today show the UK health services vaccinated a total of 25,273,226 people between 8 December and 16 March with first doses of the Pfizer and Oxford/AstraZeneca vaccines, while 1,759,445 people have had their second dose

Prime Minister Boris Johnson said the latest latest milestone is "an incredible achievement" and represented "25 million reasons to be confident for the future as we cautiously reopen society."

Read more: Matt Hancock insists Oxford/AstraZeneca vaccine is safe

He added: “Thank you once again to the brilliant NHS, scientists, armed forces, volunteers, and all those who’ve helped our rollout.”

Health Secretary Matt Hancock said: “This is an extraordinary feat, coming exactly 100 days after Margaret Keenan received the first authorised jab in the whole world.

“It has been a national mission, one of the one of the biggest logistical exercises since the war and I'd like to thank everyone who played their part, including every NHS vaccinator, GPs, pharmacists, volunteers and the armed forces for their crucial role in every corner of the UK.

“We’re ahead of schedule to offer a first dose to all in these groups by the 15 April and I urge everybody eligible to come forward.”

READ MORE: AstraZeneca vaccine and blood clots: What’s the evidence?

READ MORE: France and Germany suspend use of Oxford/AstraZeneca Covid-19 jab

The news comes as as EU Commission President Ursula von der Leyen accused AstraZeneca of "underproducing and underdelivering" in vaccine production and said Europe is "ready to use whatever tool we need" to get their fair share.

Ms von der Leyen said in a statement that the start of the vaccine rollout was "tough" but says that "progress has been made".

Read more: Europe threatens to block vaccine exports to UK as bloc faces third Covid-19 wave

Read more: Italy enters into another lockdown amid third Covid-19 wave

The Commission boss then went on to accuse vaccine manufacturer AstraZeneca of "underproducing and underdelivering", and blamed the company for delays to the EU's vaccine programme.

She also said the epidemiological situation is "getting worse" in EU and said it is becoming "worrisome".

Ms von dey Leyen also said there is the "crest of a third wave forming in member states" and commented on the incresing number of new variants.