HALF of all UK adults are thought to have now had two Covid jabs, the latest figures show.
It is a promising boost in the run up to June 21, dubbed “Freedom Day”, where it is hoped social distancing will be dropped.
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The most recent Government data on June 1 showed 49.5 per cent of the UK had received both jabs, with the total now estimated to have nudged to over half.
It comes after the UK hit a milestone in its coronavirus vaccination programme – with 75 per cent of Brits having had a first dose of a jab.
The encouraging news comes days after zero Covid deaths were reported, amid continued debate over lockdown restrictions ending.
The next set of restrictions are due to end on June 21, but doubt had been cast over this date after a rise in Indian variant cases – especially in the North West.
Extra jabs have been rolled out in hotspot areas and the UK was also given an extra boost last week after the Johnson & Johnson jab was approved for use.
Commenting on the vaccine milestone, Matt Hancock said: “I am incredibly pleased that over three quarters of UK adults have had their first dose. This is an incredible step forward in the largest and most successful vaccination programme in our history.
“Although we’ve come so far in less than six months since the world’s first authorised jab was given in the UK, our vital work is not done. We must redouble our efforts on the second dose to ensure as many people as possible have maximum protection.
“We’ve brought forward appointments from 12 to 8 weeks for a second dose, and all over 30s are now eligible for the jab. I encourage everyone to come forward when the offer comes and play a part in getting us back to normality.”
A total of 39,585,665 first doses have now been delivered since the vaccination roll-out began almost six months ago.
This is the equivalent of 75.2 per cent of all people aged 18 and over.
Ministers want to scrap social distancing, but keep face masks and work from home guidance in place after June 21.
The Indian strain is behind almost three quarters of all cases in the UK and has been found in more than 250 of England’s 300-plus authorities.
But the success of the UK’s vaccine rollout is believed to be responsible for recent low death tolls – despite rising cases of the Indian mutation.
Last week, Joint Committee on Vaccination and Immunisation member Adam Finn warned a delay to this month’s reopening is better than having to shut down again.
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Asked whether final restrictions should be lifted on June 21, Professor Finn, told LBC radio: “I fear it may be a bad decision to go with it.”
Boris Johnson still sees nothing in the data to suggest the plan to end all legal lockdown restrictions in England on June 21 will need to be delayed, Downing Street suggested.
Asked about the Prime Minister’s plans amid warnings over the spread of the Indian variant, a No 10 spokesman said: “The Prime Minister has said on a number of occasions that we haven’t seen anything in the data but we will continue to look at the data, we will continue to look at the latest scientific evidence as we move through June towards June 21.”