Saturday. 20.04.2024

More than 20 million people in Britain have received their first coronavirus vaccine dose, Health Secretary Matt Hancock said on Sunday, a figure that corresponds to about 30% of the population.

In Britain, both the AstraZeneca vaccine and the preparation from Pfizer-BioNTech are administered at two-doses intervals of up to 12 weeks, so that as many people as possible can receive an initial vaccination.

It is one reason why Britain's vaccination numbers have far outpaced most other countries, perhaps most noticeably the European Union, which is struggling to speed up efforts amid a significant shortage of shots.

At last count, the number of second vaccinations needed for full protection in Britain was still less than 1 million.

"I'm absolutely delighted that over 20 million people have now been vaccinated across the UK - it's absolutely fantastic," the health secretary said in a video posted on Twitter.

"I want to thank every single person who's come forward to get the jab because we know with increasing confidence that the jab protects you, it protects your community and it also is the route out of this for all of us," he said.

In a tweet, Prime Minister Boris Johnson called the milestone "a huge national achievement."

Falling caseloads

Despite the successful vaccination campaign and falling caseloads, Britain remains one of the worst affected countries in Europe by the pandemic, with around 123,000 deaths among people confirmed to have been infected with the virus.

Meanwhile, the government announced that families in England with school-age children are to receive free kits to test for the coronavirus at home.

The tests are to be sent to children and their parents, as well as people working with schoolchildren, for example school bus drivers. They will receive two tests a week per person, under the plan.

Children in secondary schools are to be tested three times at school at the start of the school year, before also being tested at home.

The tests are not mandatory.

The move is part of efforts to stem infections from asymptomatic cases as schools are set to reopen in England on March 8.

More than 20 million people in Britain have received vaccine dose