The British government has revealed that half of the UK adult population have now received a first dose of a COVID vaccine.
It also came as Pfizer (PFE) warned the EU to back down on its vaccine threat to stop supply to the UK.
According to the latest government figures, more than 26 million people in the UK have had their first dose of the vaccine. However the actual current total is still to be updated and is expected to be published later.
On Saturday morning, health secretary Matt Hancock said that more people received a coronavirus jab on Friday than on any previous day – including prime minister Boris Johnson.
“Yesterday we vaccinated more people than any day yet,” he posted on Twitter (TWTR). “I’m delighted to be able to say that we’ve now vaccinated HALF of all adults in the UK.
He added: “The vaccine is a national success story – and our way out of this pandemic. When you get the call, get the jab.”
Britain and Northern Ireland are now around five million people short of their second target, which is to inoculate the first nine priority groups by the 15 April.
Boris Johnson is also aiming to give a first dose to everyone aged 18 or over in the UK by the end of July 2021.
The news follows a warning from Pfizer, who told the EU not to block vaccines to the UK, as it relies “heavily” on vital ingredients from Yorkshire, the Telegraph reported.
Ursula von der Leyen, president of the European Commission, previously said she would halt the export of coronavirus vaccines into Britain unless Boris Johnson surrendered British-made AstraZeneca jabs to the EU.
A Pfizer spokesman said: “We have been clear with all stakeholders that the free movement of goods and supply across borders is absolutely critical to Pfizer and the patients we serve.
“We are working closely with governments around the world, including the UK Government and the European Commission, to ensure the supply of the Pfizer/BioNTech vaccine in accordance with the agreed schedules.”
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It also comes as countries across Europe have had to impose tougher restrictions amid a rise in COVID-19 cases, with France going into its third lockdown across 16 regions, including Paris.
UK scientists warned that overseas holidays this summer will be “extremely unlikely” because of the risk of travellers bringing coronavirus variants back to the country.
The UK faces a “real risk” if people travel abroad, Dr Mike Tildesley said.
Foreign holidays are not allowed under current lockdown restrictions and travellers have to quarantine upon return.
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