Almost nine in 10 over-80s and more than half of over-70s in the UK have now been vaccinated against coronavirus, after a weekend which saw 931,204 receive a jab in just two days, Matt Hancock has announced.
The surge in inoculations brought the total receiving their first jab to 9,296,367, with almost half a million – 494,209 – having a second booster dose. And Mr Hancock told a Downing Street press conference that every eligible care home in England has now been visited with vaccines for residents and staff.
This brings the number to be supplied by the French pharmaceutical company to 100m doses and the total UK order from a variety of companies to 400m.
Meanwhile, official death showed the number of reported fatalities in the UK fell to 406 on Monday – the lowest death toll for more than a month.
The seven-day tally of deaths fell to 21,604, down more than 20 per cent on the previous week.
Mr Hancock said that the offer of vaccines to every eligible care home with elderly residents in England was “an incredible example of health and social care working together, working side by side to protect the people who are in most need,”.
“This is a wonderful achievement, and one that is testament to the hard work of care home staff and our colleagues in the NHS and local authorities,” said the health secretary. And I want to thank every single person who’s helped us get this far.”
Mr Hancock said that the Valneva vaccine will be produced in Livingston in Scotland if it gets regulatory approval.
The Livingston facility will be added to AstraZeneca vaccine plants in Oxford, Keele and Wrexham and a Novavax factory on Teesside to create a new domestic manufacturing capability, said Mr Hancock.
“We didn’t start this pandemic with a large-scale onshore vaccine manufacturing capability, so we’re building one all across the United Kingdom,” said the health secretary.
“And the vaccine programme just goes to show how important it is, the whole UK, working as one, together.”
Mr Hancock said that the order for 400m doses of a range of vaccines was “obviously more than the UK population needs”.
He suggested that surplus supplies could go to help protect populations overseas.
“My attitude has always been, we protect every UK citizen as fast as we can and. at the same time, we’re generous around the world,” he said.
“I want to say this to our international partners. Of course I’m delighted about how well this is going at home. But I believe, fundamentally, that the vaccine rollout is a global effort.
“One of the many reasons that I’m so happy with the AstraZeneca contract is that it not just gives us a strong supply here, but because it is the only vaccine currently being deployed that is available for the whole world at cost.
“And because it’s logistically straightforward. It can be practically deployed to the poorest parts of the world.
“So we will protect UK supply. And we’ll play our part to ensure the whole world can get the jab.