600,000 people receive Covid vaccine across UK

This was made up of 521,594 people in England, 56,676 in Scotland, 22,595 in Wales and 16,068 in Northern Ireland. Figures on how many people have been given a Covid-19 vaccine in the UK will now be published on a weekly basis.

The data was released after Boris Johnson said almost 800,000 people had been vaccinated.

The DHSC data showed 616,933 people had been given a jab between 8 and 20 December.

The Pfizer/BioNTech vaccine, currently the only vaccine approved for use in the UK, has been administered to top priority people – including care home residents, those over 80 years old, and health and social care staff – at more than 500 sites across the UK.

Matt Hancock, the health secretary, said in a statement: “In just over three weeks, the NHS in every part of the UK has already set up hundreds of vaccination sites to ensure those most in need can receive their jab as quickly as possible.

“This is just the beginning and we are continually expanding our vaccination programme to help everyone get back to normal in the future.”

Vaccinations will continue over Christmas with the rate of vaccination expected to increase as more doses become available.

In a press conference on 24 December, Mr Hancock revealed that the Oxford/AstraZeneca vaccine had been submitted for approval, raising hopes that more vaccines will become available to the population and dissemination will be sped up.

Unlike the Pfizer/BioNTech vaccine, the Oxford/AstraZeneca vaccine can be contained at normal fridge temperature. Both vaccines require two doses, spread out by 21 days with the Oxford/AstraZeneca vaccine compared to 28 with the Pfizer/BioNTech shot.

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