BRITAIN was on target to hit its mammoth jabs target last night with 285 receiving a dose every minute.
Official figures revealed 409,855 Brits got their first jab yesterday — taking the total to 5.4million nationally.
Britain is set to hit the jabs target with one in ten adults in England now vaccinated with the first dose
One in ten adults in England have now had their first dose, including 71 per cent of over-80s and 67 per cent of care home residents.
And The Sun can reveal another 33 new vaccination sites are to open across England next week.
In another boost, total infections dropped by a third yesterday and the R-rate dropped to below 1 for the first time in five weeks. But deaths remain high at 1,401 yesterday.
Immunisation rates must stay at around 400,000 a day to meet PM Boris Johnson’s target of offering a jab to 15million people at highest risk by mid-February.
But the giant hubs will “put a rocket up” the immunisation effort by allowing the NHS to dole out tens of thousands more doses daily.
The PM told last night’s briefing: “Our immunisation programme continues at an unprecedented rate.
“We remain on track to reach our goal of offering a first dose to everyone in the top four priority groups by the middle of February. I want to thank all the doctors and nurses, especially at GP-led sites who are vaccinating at a phenomenal rate.”
The PM also praised armed forces, local authorities, pharmacies and volunteers — such as The Sun’s Jabs Army — for making “the extraordinary national effort” possible.
He added: “And I say to everyone, when that letter arrives, please don’t hesitate to book that appointment and get this life-saving protection.
Immunisation rates must stay at around 400,000 a day to meet Boris Johnson’s targetCredit: PA:Press Association
“This is the best and fastest way for us all to defeat this virus and get our lives back to normal.”
Currently there are 17 hubs nationally — some at cathedrals and racecourses.
The Black Country Living Museum, famous as a set for TV hit Peaky Blinders, will open from Monday. Other new hubs include The Francis Crick Institute in London, Stoneleigh Park, Warks, and a former Debenhams in Folkestone, Kent.
People are urged not to ring their GP or the centres directly, but wait for a letter or call from the NHS.
A Government source said capacity was continuously being ramped up but vaccination was currently being held up by supply.
The UK is set to receive half its expected deliveries of the Pfizer jab in the next fortnight while the firm expands its European plant.
Dose levels look much healthier from mid-February.
A Government source said: “These new centres will put a rocket up our vaccine delivery efforts. As long as we can continue to get steady supplies we are on target to offer it to all in high-risk groups.”
Chief Medical Officer Prof Chris Whitty said vaccinated Brits must still follow the lockdown rules.
‘YOU SHOULD STILL BE VERY CAUTIOUS’
Asked if jabbed people could mix, he said: “Over time the answer will be ‘Yes’ but at this point it is ‘No’. You should still be very cautious.”
He said although the risk was much smaller after vaccination, people could still catch and spread the virus.
Prof Whitty added: “We need to do three things: Vaccinate those at risk and give them their second dose.
“We need to vaccinate the rest of the population. And we need to get virus rates right down — that’s what everyone is doing by staying at home.”
In a sign lockdown could be working, the R rate has dropped below one for the first time in five weeks.
It is now 0.8 to 1.0, meaning on average every ten infected people will pass the virus to eight to ten others.
East of England has the lowest R rate at 0.6 to 0.9.
New Office for National Statistics data found a million people — or one in 55 — were infected in the week to January 16.
That compares with one in 50 over Christmas. The data does not include hospital or care home cases.
But the percentage of positive cases in secondary school kids has levelled off, and infections from the new variant fell in London and the South East.
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