As progress in the vaccination programme continues, Britons now face the prospect of normal life after months in lockdown.
In an “extraordinary feat” that had taken “a truly national effort”, fifteen million people across England have received the first dose of the coronavirus vaccine. Prime Minister Boris Johnson raved about the achievement and said that England had reached the target to vaccinate all top four priority groups.
“It has been a truly national, UK-wide effort. We have done it together”, he said in a video statement on Sunday. “And in England, I can tell you we have now offered jabs to everyone in the first four priority groups – the people most likely to be severely ill from coronavirus – hitting the first target we set ourselves.”
Mr Johnson had vowed that all over-70s and those who are clinically vulnerable would have received the vaccine by 15 February.
The “significant milestone” in the fight against the pandemic could boost plans to reopen many sectors of the economy and allow families to reunite. A lockdown review is set to begin today with careful considerations on which sectors to reopen first.
In a statement, the health secretary, Matt Hancock, said: “I’m so proud of the team – we’ve hit this fantastic milestone in our battle against Covid-19. In less than 10 weeks we’ve jabbed over 15 million people across the UK.
“That’s one in every four adults now starting to receive protection from this dreadful disease.
“This accomplishment is thanks to the incredible efforts of frontline NHS workers, vaccine volunteers, the armed forces and all those working in local and central government. The vaccine rollout shows what our country can achieve working together.
“There is so much more to do and I urge anyone eligible to step forward and take up their appointment. The vaccine is our route to freedom – we will beat this virus jab by jab.”
Despite the achievement in England`s vaccination`s programme, some measures will need to remain in place to avoid a resurgence of Covid cases.