More than 3.5 million people have received a first dose of a Covid-19 vaccine in the UK, surpassing the number who have tested positive for the virus, according to British government data. A total of 3,559,179 people have been given their first dose as of last Friday, but just 447,261 of them have had a second dose.
The head of the National Health Service in England told the BBC on Sunday than more than half of those aged 80 and above have had the first dose, with the pace of vaccinations to accelerate in the upcoming weeks.
“We will start testing 24/7 in some hospitals over the course of the next 10 days, but we are at the moment vaccinating at the rate of about 140 jabs a minute,” Simon Stevens said.
Stevens said someone is being admitted to hospital with the virus every 30 seconds.
The UK has the highest coronavirus death toll in Europe, according to figures from Johns Hopkins University, with 81,800 dead.
“Since Christmas Day we’ve seen another 15,000 increase in the in-patients in hospitals across England, that’s the equivalent of filling 30 hospitals full of coronavirus patients,” Stevens said.
On Monday, 10 more mass vaccination sites will open across England as the country’s vaccine rollout is sped up.