Covid-19: McMahon says vaccines need to be more accessible
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Margaret Keenan, then 90, received the first Covid vaccine one year ago, on December 8, 2020. Her appointment was one week before she turned 91, and she described it as the “best early birthday present”. Hers was the first of 800,000 planned doses, and since then, British vaccinators have provided nearly 120 million more.
According to the latest ONS data, they have administered 118,630,479 doses as of December 7.
The impressive total comes from first, second and booster doses.
So far, 50,138,245 people have had the initial dose required to kickstart immunity.
A further 46,582,425 have taken up the offer of a second.
The remaining 20,909,809 recipients have come back for their booster six months later.
The number of vaccines will likely exponentially increase in the coming months as the Government endeavours to boost millions more Britons.
The Omicron variant has highlighted the need for enhanced immunity, and ministers have greenlit proposals to cut the booster waiting period in half, from six months to three.
They have also reduced the age requirement and hope to extend the offer to every English adult by January.
Omicron has established community roots and, according to health Secretary Sajid Javid, is passing between regions.
The enhanced vaccine programme provides the best protection against the coming wave, which some experts believe could push breakout cases to 90,000 per day by Christmas.
But the data reveals a potential hole in the UK’s best defence, as people appear less willing to accept their jabs compared to earlier this year.
The vaccine programme has stalled in recent months, with 500,000 fewer offered since the spring peak.
The highest recorded total administered came on March 20, when vaccinators provided 752,308.
Since then, they have dramatically fallen off, down to 299,837 in July.
In September, they had levelled out to around 40,345 a day.
Data from December 6 shows the total has now more than halved, down to 19,979.
The last available seven-day average was around 24,021.
Roughly six million Britons have not accepted a single Covid dose, and the most reluctant are young people under 40.
Experts believe the lower uptake is due to messaging, as the Government unleashed a restriction bonfire in the summer with “Freedom Day”.
At the time, most young adults had not received their second Covid dose, and ministers did little to encourage outliers after then.
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