The Government has welcomed the news that more than 85 million COVID-19 vaccinations have been administered in the UK, building on the success of our historic vaccination programme and offering long-term protection to businesses and livelihoods as we build back better from the pandemic.
Vaccinations have severely weakened the link between COVID-19 cases, hospitalisations and deaths, and although cases continue to fall, we must carry one getting jabs into the nation’s arms in order to maintain this protection. That is why the Government has welcomed the news that over 85,336,436 vaccines have been administered in total, with 46,872,411 first doses (88.6%) and 38,464,025 second doses (72.7%).
Further analysis from Public Health England (PHE) and the University of Cambridge also suggests vaccines have so far prevented over 52,600 hospitalisations, an estimated 22 million infections and more than 60,000 deaths in England alone.
The UK met the Prime Minister’s target ahead of schedule to vaccinate two-thirds of adults in the UK with both doses and to offer a first dose to all adults by 19 July. All adults in the UK are able to get their second doses after 8 weeks. This will mean every adult has the chance to have 2 doses by mid-September.
The Government secured access to more than 500 million doses of the most promising COVID-19 vaccines early on behalf of the entire UK, crown dependencies and overseas territories. The UK’s medicine’s regulator, the MHRA, was the first in the world to approve the Pfizer-BioNTech and Oxford-AstraZeneca vaccines, allowing the rapid deployment of vaccines across the country and ensuring the UK has one of the fastest vaccination programmes in the world.
Our world-beating vaccination programme has already meant that nearly nine in ten adults have received at least one dose of the COVID-19 vaccine, but we are determined to boost uptake, particularly amongst young people, further. That is why the Government is making it as easy as possible for people to get their jab - with new vaccination centres opening up everywhere from festivals to farm shops, to circuses and stadiums, whilst some of Britain’s best-known businesses including Uber, Deliveroo, Bolt and Pizza Pilgrims are among the first to sign up to a scheme which will, once available, provide discounts and incentives customers who get a COVID-19 vaccination.
The enormous success of our vaccine rollout has allowed us to ease restrictions, open businesses and resume normal life, and we urge everybody who has not yet received their second dose to do so at one of the 2,000 vaccination centres across the country.
Getting both doses of the vaccines is the most important thing you can do to protect yourself and your loved ones – so we urge everyone to get both their jabs as soon as possible as we continue on the road to normality.
For more information on the UK’s historic vaccination programme following the milestone of over 85 million vaccines administered, including comments from the Health and Social Care Secretary and the Vaccines Minister, please visit: https://www.gov.uk/government/news/more-than-85-million-covid-19-vaccines-administered-in-uk.
International travel update: Government waives quarantine for arrivals fully vaccinated from Europe and USA while also confirming international cruise restart
From yesterday, fully vaccinated visitors from Europe and the USA will no longer need to quarantine upon arrival, in our latest step towards reopening international travel and making travel to England easier as we start to rebuild key transatlantic routes and further cement our ties with our European neighbours.
Our vaccination programme is building a wall of defence against coronavirus – with over 7 in 10 adults in the UK now double jabbed – meaning we can continue to take great strides in our journey to reopen international travel. That is why from yesterday, guided by the latest scientific advice, fully vaccinated passengers arriving in England from amber countries in Europe and the USA will not have to quarantine upon arrival. The Government has also confirmed, in line with Public Health England guidance, that international cruises can restart from England.
We are taking another step on the road toward normality, reuniting friends and families from across the world and giving a boost to UK businesses as we continue on our journey to fully reopening international travel. For more information on the latest international travel update, please visit: https://www.rebeccaharris.org/news/international-travel-update.
NHS COVID-19 app updated to notify fewer contacts to isolate
Yesterday the Government urged the public to continue to use the NHS COVID-19 App, as changes were brought in meaning fewer contacts will be advised to self-isolate – striking the right balance between reducing disruption and protecting those at risk from the virus.
We want to reduce the disruption that self-isolation can cause for people and businesses, while ensuring we are protecting those most at risk from the virus. That is why, in line with the public health advice, the Government is updating the app so that only contacts two days prior to a positive test will get pinged – compared to the five days under the previous version of the app.
This update does not impact the sensitivity of the app, or change the risk threshold, and will result in the same number of high-risk contacts being advised to self-isolate.
This update comes as new analysis shows the NHS COVID-19 App continues to play a crucial role in breaking chains of transmission, preventing hospitalisations and saving lives.
New analysis from leading scientists shows that in the first 3 weeks of July, as cases were exponentially rising, the app averted up to 2,000 cases per day, and over 50,000 cases of COVID-19 including chains of transmission assuming 60% compliance with instructions to self-isolate. This is estimated to have prevented 1,600 hospitalisations. It also shows the app reduces the spread of COVID-19 by around 4.3% each week, and for every 200-250 tests entered and shared in the app one person is prevented from being hospitalised from the virus.
The app remains the fastest way to know if you have been at risk, and app users will only be advised to isolate if they have come into close contact with someone who has tested positive for COVID-19. People should continue to use the app and self-isolate when asked to do so - in order to stop the spread of the virus and protect communities.
For more information on the updated NHS COVID-19, please visit: https://www.gov.uk/government/news/nhs-covid-19-app-updated-to-notify-fewer-contacts-to-isolate.
New study into COVID-19 vaccine dose interval for pregnant women
Today the Government has launched a new study into the best COVID-19 dose interval for pregnant women, helping to save lives for years to come.
Tens of thousands of pregnant women have now been vaccinated with no safety concerns – but we still lack data on how to give them the best possible protection from this virus. That is why the Government is backing a £7.5 million trial which will provide vital clinical trial data on the immune response from pregnant women to vaccination at different dose intervals – either four to six weeks or eight to twelve weeks - providing evidence which can also be used to inform future vaccination programmes.
This will tell us more about how to best protect pregnant mothers and their babies against COVID-19, saving lives for years to come. For more information on the Preg-CoV study, please visit: https://www.gov.uk/government/news/new-study-into-covid-19-vaccine-dose-interval-for-pregnant-women.