Two-thirds of 75-to-79-year-olds have received first Covid vaccine jab, Hancock reveals

30 January 2021, 18:34 | Updated: 30 January 2021, 19:42

Two in three 75-79-year-olds have received their first dose of the coronavirus vaccine
Two in three 75-79-year-olds have received their first dose of the coronavirus vaccine. Picture: PA
Nick Hardinges

By Nick Hardinges

Two-thirds of 75-to-79-year-olds have received their first Covid jab along with five in six people aged over 80, Matt Hancock has revealed.

The health secretary's announcement came as the UK neared a total of nine million vaccinations on Saturday, according to the latest government data.

So far, nearly 8.9 million jabs have been administered up to 29 January - a daily increase of more than 480,000 - of which more than 8.3 million were first doses.

Some 480,432 follow-up shots have been given, an increase of 2,178 on the figures released the previous day.

Mr Hancock thanked everyone involved in Britain's vaccine rollout, adding that the country "will get through this together".

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He wrote on Twitter: "VACCINE UPDATE: 5 in 6 over-80s, 2 in 3 75-79-year-olds have now been vaccinated for COVID.

"THANK YOU to all involved in rolling-out the vaccine across the whole UK.

"We will get through this together."

Britain's seven-day rolling average of first doses is now 359,656.

For the government to reach its target of 15 million initial inoculations by 15 February, that figure would need to average 413,816.

On Saturday, Cabinet Office Minister Michael Gove said the UK is "fully on course" to hit that target of vaccinating the 15 million most vulnerable individuals in the UK by mid-February.

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He told reporters he is "confident" Covid vaccine supplies will reach the UK as planned and that the country's vaccination programme will not be affected by the EU's bitter row with AstraZeneca and its Article 16 U-turn.

Mr Gove said it was made clear between Prime Minister Boris Johnson and European Union chief Ursula von der Leyen that jab supplies would not be interrupted.

It comes despite the bloc's export controls and demands for British-manufactured jabs.

The minister said: "We're confident that we can proceed with our vaccine programmes exactly as planned.

"Last night the prime minister talked to President von der Leyen, the President of the European Commission, and made clear that we need to have the contracts that have been entered into honoured properly.

"And it was made clear that that supply would not be interrupted so we can proceed with our plans and make sure that our so far highly-successful vaccination programme can continue."

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However, another 1,200 people have died in the UK within 28 days of testing positive for Covid-19, Saturday's figures show.

The number brings Britain's coronavirus death toll since the pandemic began to 105,571.

However, separate figures published by the UK's statistics agencies show that mortalities have actually surpassed 122,000.

That data includes deaths where the virus has been mentioned on death certificates and adds mortalities that have occurred in recent days.

The UK has also recorded a further 23,275 lab-confirmed cases, bringing the tally so far to 3,796,088.

Both the deaths and infections reported today represent a drop on last Saturday's figures, when 1,348 people died and a further 33,552 infections were recorded.

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Three vaccines have already been approved for use in the UK - the Pfizer-BioNTech and Oxford-AstraZeneca drugs, currently being rolled out, and another by Moderna, although supplies of that are not expected to arrive until spring.

A fourth jab could be approved for use in the UK within weeks after late-stage trials suggested it was 89 per cent effective in preventing the virus.

The UK has secured 60 million doses of the Novavax vaccine - to be produced on Teesside - which was shown to be 89.3 per cent effective at preventing coronavirus in participants in its Phase 3 clinical trial in the UK.

Less than 24 hours later, Johnson & Johnson's pharmaceutical arm Janssen announced its single-shot jab is 66 per cent effective overall at preventing moderate to severe coronavirus 28 days after vaccination.

The UK has ordered 30 million doses of the vaccine, with deliveries expected in the second half of this year if the jab is approved by the Medicines and Healthcare products Regulatory Agency (MHRA).

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