UK

Britain dishes out 500,000 Covid jabs in a day with almost 11million now given their first dose

Britain dishes out 500,000 Covid jabs in a day with almost 11million now given their first dose

  • Britain dished out 480,560 first doses and 4,000 second doses on Thursday
  • This brings the total number vaccinated to 10.9million, latest figures show
  • Boris Johnson has promised to inoculate the most vulnerable by mid-February 

Britain dished out another 500,000 Covid vaccines yesterday, as it hurtles towards its target of inoculating the 15million most vulnerable by mid-February.

Department of Health statistics shows 480,560 first doses were administered on Thursday, alongside 4,000 second doses. 

Almost 11million Britons have now had their first vaccination, the latest figures show. 

Boris Johnson has promised to get jabs to the most vulnerable – over-70s, NHS frontline, care home residents and the vulnerable – by February 15.

And with the country jabbing an average 400,000 people every day, the UK is well on track to hitting his goal. 

The PM is now facing a battle royal on lockdown, with Tories demanding all curbs are dropped in May when over-50s are vaccinated.

No10 is under renewed pressure to step up the reopening of the country after the government accidentally revealed the top nine groups – around 32million people – should be covered by the spring.

Ministers had previously refused to confirm a timetable, but the Cabinet Office cited it as a reason elections in England can take place on May 6.

Boris faces Tory demands to drop ALL curbs by May

Boris Johnson is facing a battle royal on lockdown today as Tories demands all curbs are dropped in May when over-50s are vaccinated – but SAGE modelling suggested even a slower easing could mean 130,000 more deaths.

The PM is under renewed pressure to step up the reopening of the country after the government accidentally revealed that the top nine groups – around 32million people – should be covered by the spring.

Ministers had previously refused to confirm a timetable, but the Cabinet Office cited it as a reason elections in England can take place on May 6.

Senior Conservatives seized on the optimism to reiterate calls for a quick relaxation amid fears over the huge impact on education, the economy and other health issues. Mark Harper, who chairs the Tory MP lockdown-sceptic Covid Recovery Group (CRG), said: ‘These top nine groups account for around 99 per cent of those that have died from Covid and about 80 per cent of hospital admissions.

‘It will be almost impossible to justify having any restrictions in place at all by that point.’

Mr Johnson is set to unveil his road map out of lockdown towards the end of the month, with hopes the return of schools from March 8 can be followed by allowing mixing outdoors, with bars and restaurants freed up over the summer.

There was a barrage of other good news today, with the R number dipping below the critical level of one, research showing the AstraZeneca jab seems effective against the Kent variant, and the UK regulator saying it was not detecting significant side-effects. Another 19,114 people were reported as testing positive, down a third on last Friday, and the grim daily death toll was down 18 per cent week on week at 1,014.

Thursday’s figures are a three per cent rise on Wednesday, when a total of 471,011 doses were administered.

The highest number ever was achieved on Saturday January 30, when the UK managed as many as 609,010 in 24 hours. 

Ministers have warned supplies are set to be the main issue strangling the rollout, with deliveries previously described as ‘lumpy’.

And the PM has been called upon to sort out the ‘lackadaisical approach’ to jabs on Sundays, when the number given appears to dip sharply. 

The Prime Minister this week praised the NHS for its mammoth rollout to 10million in the most vulnerable groups in the country.

Heralding the achievement in a Downing Street press conference, the Prime Minister thanked everyone involved in the roll-out, from scientists to delivery drivers to pharmacists. 

He said: ‘And it is thanks to their effort — the most colossal in the history of our National Health Service — that we have today passed the milestone.’

But despite the inoculation drive being an undoubted success with Britain administering more jabs per person than any other country except Israel, a trend has emerged in the figures showing a sharp drop-off in uptake on Sundays.

For example, last Sunday there were 46 per cent fewer jabs administered compared to the day before — dropping from almost 600,000 to 320,000. The fall was even more pronounced two Sundays ago, on January 24, when half as many jabs were done compared to the Saturday.

Several GPs, who asked not to be named, told MailOnline that a large number of practices shut on Sundays and do not offer appointments – despite No10 insisting the immunisation drive is 24/7 operation. 

It echoed claims made by Scotland’s national clinical director who said the closure of surgeries on Sundays was hampering the vaccine rollout north of the border.

The Royal College of GPs has said family doctors are ‘doing everything they can’ to get the vaccine to those who need it most, with ‘some’ but not all practices providing services seven days a week.

Economists from the Institute for Economic Affairs told MailOnline that there is ‘no incentive’ for family doctors, who’ve been juggling the vaccine rollout and battling Covid on the frontlines of the second wave, to work seven days a week. It suggested GPs be offered commission on every jab done on a weekend. 

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