(London) More than 20 million people in the United Kingdom have already received a first dose of vaccine against the coronavirus, the government rejoiced on Sunday, which is counting on mass vaccination to emerge from the health crisis.
This announcement comes as the country of 66 million inhabitants, very hard hit by the pandemic, is worried about the detection on its territory of a variant that appeared in Manaus, Brazil, considered to be more virulent.
“Twenty million people across the UK have now received the vaccine – a huge national achievement,” Prime Minister Boris Johnson said on Twitter.
He asked anyone called to receive the vaccine to accept it, because “every injection makes a difference in our battle against COVID-19”.
Saying “absolutely delighted” by this new step, the Minister of Health Matt Hancock thanked “each of the people who showed up for an injection, because we know with more and more certainty that the vaccine protects you, protects your community, and it is also the way out for all of us ”.
“There is still a long way to go, but we are making great strides,” he added in a video posted on Twitter.
According to official figures released on Sunday, 20,089,551 first doses were administered, with the number of second doses reaching 796,132.
The most bereaved country in Europe with around 123,000 dead, the United Kingdom is counting on mass vaccination to get out of the containment put in place since January to contain a new very virulent wave, attributed to a more contagious variant that has appeared in the south from England.
“With vaccine supplies set to increase in March, we plan to accelerate further as we approach Easter” (April 4), England’s director-general of the public health service (NHS) Simon Stevens said.
But as the country rejoiced at the progress of vaccinations, health authorities announced on Sunday that they had detected six cases of people infected with a variant, identified in Manaus, in northern Brazil, which could be more contagious and resist vaccines. existing. One of these people could not be located due to incomplete contact details provided as part of his test.
As part of the vaccination campaign, launched in early December and one of the most advanced in the world, the government aims for everyone over 50 to have received a first dose of vaccine by April 15, then all adults. end of July.
Then, in order not to slow down its progression, vaccination will continue according to age rather than exposed professions such as police officers and teachers, according to the recommendation of the scientific committee overseeing the campaign. Priority will therefore be given to people aged 40 to 49, then to those in their thirties and finally to adults between 18 and 29 years of age.
The government had previously achieved its goal of partially vaccinating in mid-February, with Pfizer / BioNTech and AstraZeneca / Oxford vaccines currently in use, the estimated 15 million over 70, caregivers, residents and nursing home workers.
The number of contaminations and deaths has been declining for a few weeks, and confinement will be very gradually relaxed between March and the end of June. But the authorities called on the population not to let their guard down and to continue to respect the restrictions in place.