A record 491,970 people received their first coronavirus vaccinations on Saturday, a pace that if maintained would allow the government to beat its target for covering the most vulnerable people in society.

The prime minister has pledged to offer a first jab to 14.6 million people by February 15. This would include the over-70s, frontline health workers, care home staff and older residents and others with clinical conditions that put them at extreme risk.

As of Saturday, nearly 6.4 million had received a first dose. If the volume of vaccines administered on Saturday were kept up, the top four priority groups could be covered by February 10, nearly a week ahead of schedule.

Matt Hancock, the health secretary, said yesterday that 75 per cent of

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