UK's juggernaut vaccine program nearly hits 7m with local MPs welcoming news - as Matt Hancock mocks French effort

THE UK’s juggernaut vaccination program has now seen nearly seven million people receive the jab – with health secretary Matt Hancock mocking the French effort when offering a yardstick.

Sunday, 24th January 2021, 5:07 pm

Government data from December 8 to January 23 showed there had been 6,822,981 jabs given in the UK so far, with 6,353,321 of these first doses – a rise of 491,970 on Saturday’s figures. The announcement was welcomed by MPs in the area.

The figures also showed that up to 469,660 were second doses, an increase of 1,043 on figures released on Saturday.

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Penny Mordaunt MP

In the south east, the NHS England data showed a total of 881,901 first doses and 76,288 second doses had been given to people during the same period – making 958,189 in total.

Mr Hancock said that, as of Sunday morning, three quarters of all people over 80 in the UK had now been vaccinated.

‘(This) is absolutely brilliant progress,’ he said.

‘Similar number of care homes, around three quarters and in fact we’ve vaccinated more people in just the last three days than France has in the entire history of this disease.’

Penny Mordaunt, Portsmouth North MP, welcomed the progress before revealing more good news. ‘We are making good progress in getting people vaccinated, and I was briefed this week that across the south east all care home residents will have had their first jab by Monday morning,’ she said.

‘While it is right that the most vulnerable get the vaccine first the next grouping must include workers who are most exposed, including teachers, early years, police, retail and others.

‘I know this is being looked at by the Joint Committee on vaccination and immunisation. The vaccine is the only way out of this so we need to keep following the restrictions if we are to save lives and keep healthcare going.’

Stephen Morgan, Portsmouth South MP, said he was pleased with the vaccination program especially as the pandemic had ‘tragically taken at least 97,000 lives’ while costing the NHS £1bn a week, the UK economy over £5.3bn a week and leaves jobs losses running at 23,000 a week.

‘The rate of vaccination rollout is showing the value of our NHS, and the tireless dedication of those who serve our city on the front line,’ he said.

‘The new variants remind us we have to go further and faster with vaccination but more effort is also required to break transmission chains.

‘Without proper support to help people isolate to stop spreading the infection, ministers are putting many families struggling to make ends meet at financial risk. This needs fixing by the government now.’

Alan Mak, Havant MP, said the vaccination rollout was ‘great news’ and ‘reflects the hard work of NHS staff I've met when visiting all three major vaccination centres serving the Havant constituency’.

‘Our vaccination program is going well, and we'll look to add new priority groups in phase two,’ he added.

Vaccines Minister Nadhim Zahawi said there was ‘much more to do’ as he welcomed the new jab figures.

Meanwhile, discussing lockdown restrictions, Mr Hancock added: ‘Well there is early evidence that the lockdown is starting to bring cases down, but we’re a long, long, long way from being low enough because the case rate was incredibly high and you can see the pressure on the NHS, you can see it every day.’

A message from the Editor, Mark Waldron

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