Darren Adam 1am - 4am
Quarter of UK adults have now received two doses of coronavirus vaccine
27 April 2021, 12:30 | Updated: 27 April 2021, 16:01
A quarter of all adults in the UK have now received a second dose of the coronavirus jab, vaccines minister Nadhim Zahawi has said.
Mr Zahawi confirmed in a tweet that the landmark in the fight against the virus had been reached.
A total of 13,201,811 people have now received both jabs - the equivalent of 25.1% of the adult population.
Wales is estimated to have given two doses to 27.8% of adults, ahead of England (24.9%), Scotland (24.9%) and Northern Ireland (24.5%).
It comes as people aged 42 and over in England are now able to book their vaccine.
The NHS coronavirus vaccine booking system has been extended for the second time in two days having only opened to those aged 44 and over on Monday.
Health Secretary Matt Hancock tweeted to say he was waiting by his phone for confirmation of his appointment.
1/4 of all adults have now had two doses of vaccine. 💉💉💉👇🏾👇🏾👇🏾💪🏻💪🏽💪🏿 pic.twitter.com/fMbqP0wthj— Nadhim Zahawi (@nadhimzahawi) April 27, 2021
Meanwhile, deaths involving Covid-19 in England and Wales have fallen 97% since the peak of the second wave of the virus, new figures suggest.
Despite this, Prime Minister Boris Johnson has told cabinet ministers "we are not out of the woods yet" due to concerns over variants.
A No 10 statement said: "Cabinet concluded with an update on the pandemic.
"The PM reiterated that the data continues to look good but warned that we are not out of the woods yet as variants of concern continue to pose a threat.
"The PM said that while the road ahead looks positive, there will still be challenges and this Government will continue to take tough decisions where necessary to protect both lives and livelihoods."
The latest figures show some age groups have recorded drops as high as 98% or 99%, as the combined impact of the lockdown and the vaccine rollout continues to drive down the number of infections and hospital admissions.
A total of 266 deaths occurred in the week ending April 9 where Covid-19 was recorded on the death certificate, according to the Office for National Statistics (ONS).
This is down 97% from 8,965 deaths in the week to January 22, the peak of the second wave, when more than a thousand deaths were taking place each day.
Analysis of the ONS data shows the age groups 75-79, 80-84 and 85-89 also recorded drops of 97%, while for people aged 65-69 the fall was 96% and for those aged 60-64 it was 95%.
For people aged 90 and over the drop was even sharper, however, with a fall of 98% from the second-wave peak.
And for people in the 70-74 age group, deaths have dropped by 99%.
The figures suggest the strict lockdowns in place across England and Wales since the start of the year, coupled with the increasing take-up of Covid-19 vaccinations, have together played a critical role in limiting the spread of the virus among the population.
Lockdown restrictions are now being eased in both nations, as well as in Scotland and Northern Ireland, though it is too soon to see any consequences of these changes reflected in the data.