A QUARTER of UK adults are now fully vaccinated – after a record number of second doses were dished out in a week.
One in four have had both jabs – a total of 13,201,811 people.
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The equivalent of 25.1 per cent of the adult population are now protected against severe illness or death, thanks to the vaccines.
Wales is estimated to have given two doses to 27.8 per cent of adults, ahead of England (24.9 per cent), Scotland (24.9 per cent) and Northern Ireland (24.5 per cent).
The figures are for vaccinations reported by the UK’s health agencies up to and including April 26.
It reflects the speedy pace at which the administering of second doses has been ramped up across the country during the past month.
It comes as:
Just under 2.8 million second doses were recorded in the week to April 26 – the highest number for any seven-day period so far – with nearly 8.7 million since April 1.
This compares with just under 3.7 million second doses in March and just 321,607 in February.
Second doses of Covid-19 vaccines must follow within 12 weeks of the first, meaning the millions of people who received their initial jab in February have recently had a follow-up dose, or are due to get the jab shortly.
People aged 80 and over were among the first groups on the priority list for vaccines, with initial doses offered from early December.
The age has been lowered for the second time this week, meaning more people in their 40s are able to book their vaccine appointment.
The NHS coronavirus vaccine booking system has opened up to healthy people in England aged 42 and over.
Those set to turn 42 before July 1 can also now arrange their jab.
A text will be sent from “NHSvaccine” inviting them to get a dose with a link to the booking site. People can also call 119.
There are thousands of vaccine sites to choose from, including shopping centres, mosques and pharmacies. The system only opened to those aged 44 on Monday.
NHS Medical Director, Professor Stephen Powis, said: “Just two weeks after rolling out the vaccine to those aged 45 and over, we are now ready to invite those aged 42 and 43, as the largest vaccination programme in NHS history continues at speed.
“The rapid rollout of the NHS vaccination programme, the swiftest in Europe, hasn’t happened by accident – it is down to months of careful planning and sheer hard work by nurses, doctors and countless other staff supported by our volunteers.
“If you receive a text inviting you to book in for your jab, please follow the instructions provided – it is simple, effective and provides vital protection against the coronavirus.”