MORE than half of the UK’s adult population has now received a first dose of the Covid vaccine, the health secretary confirmed today.
It means the midway point to jabbing the entire nation by the end of July was passed in the last 24 hours.
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Matt Hancock today confirmed more than half of the adult population has had their first dose of the Covid jabCredit: AFP
Mr Hancock tweeted this morning: “I’m delighted to be able to say that we’ve now vaccinated HALF of all adults in the UK.
“The vaccine is a national success story and our way out of this pandemic.”
According to official data, 26,263,732 adults had received their first dose of the vaccine up to March 18, while 2,011,070 had been given their second.
It meant another 300,000 more jabs were needed to smash the halfway mark.
Boris Johnson – who received his first dose yesterday – has pledged to offer a jab to everyone aged 18 or over in the UK by the end of July 2021.
And in a new Covid vaccine record, the NHS dished out more than 660,000 jabs in a single day on Thursday.
But while ministers said we would have a “bumper” supply this week, that is likely to drop off next month, it is understood.
Under 50s will have to wait for millions more doses to come in to get their jabs.
And instead the NHS will refocus efforts on jabbing anyone who turned down one the first time.
It comes as tensions surrounding vaccine supplies boil over, with EU chief Ursula von der Leyen threatening to halt exports from Europe.
Ms von der Leyen told AstraZeneca it would block all vaccine supplies leaving the continent if the EU does not receive its deliveries first.
In an interview with Germany’s Funke media group Ms von der Leyen said: “We have the option of banning a planned export.
“That’s the message to AstraZeneca: you fulfil your contract with Europe first before you start delivering to other countries.”
And earlier this week she said: “All options are on the table. We are in the crisis of the century and I’m not ruling out anything for now because we have to make sure Europeans are vaccinated as soon as possible.”
AstraZeneca’s fellow drugs giant Pfizer has urged the EU to back down on its threats, warning that production could “grind to a halt” if Britain retaliates.
Pfizer, and its partner BioNTech, have told the EU that Britain can strike back against any export ban by withholding vital materials, The Telegraph reports.
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