London, June 3 (MNN) More than half of all adults in the UK have received second dose of a COVID-19 vaccine while over 75 per cent have got one dose, the latest figures published on Thursday showed.
The Department of Health and Social Care said that health services across the UK have now administered 66,180,731 vaccines between December 8 and June 2, including 39,758,428 people with first doses (75.5 per cent) and 26,422,303 people with both doses (50.2 per cent), ensuring they have the strongest possible protection against COVID-19 from a second dose.
A recent study by Public Health England (PHE) shows that two doses of the COVID-19 vaccines are highly effective against the B.1.617.2 (Delta) variant first identified in India.
Vaccine effectiveness against symptomatic disease from the B.1.617.2 (Delta) variant is similar after two doses compared to the B.1.1.7 (Alpha) variant dominant in the UK, and we expect to see even higher levels of effectiveness against hospitalisation and death, the department said.
The UK government met its target of offering a vaccine to the most vulnerable by April 15 and remains on track to offer a first dose to all adults by the end of July.
NHS England has extended the offer of a vaccine to everyone over the age of 30.
Health and Social Care Secretary Matt Hancock said: “Shortly after vaccinating three quarters of adults with a first dose, I’m thrilled that we have now vaccinated over half of adults with the life-saving second dose.
“We know how important the second dose is to give protection, particularly against the Delta variant. That’s why we’ve brought forward appointments from 12 to 8 weeks for the most vulnerable people.”
Last week, the Medicines and Healthcare products Regulatory Agency (MHRA) announced that Janssen’s COVID-19 vaccine was authorised for use in the UK.
It is expected to be available for use later this year.
The single-dose vaccine was shown to be 67 per cent effective overall in preventing COVID-19 infection and 85 per cent effective in preventing severe disease or hospitalisation.
To ensure people have the strongest possible protection against COVID-19, appointments for second doses have been brought forward from 12 to 8 weeks for the remaining people in the top 9 priority groups who have yet to receive both doses.
The move follows updated advice from the independent experts at the Joint Committee on Vaccination and Immunisation (JCVI), which has considered the latest available evidence and has recommended reducing the dosing interval to counter the threat of new variants of concern.