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21 million reasons to be hopeful: Huge number of Covid-19 vaccines are now in the UK

More than 21million Covid jabs are on British soil, the Daily Mail can reveal today.

It means there are enough doses to hit the target of injecting all over-70s, care home residents and health staff by February 15.

Not all the vaccine consignments have passed regulatory checks – and many are yet to be put into vials. But the fact so many logistical hurdles have been jumped is a major victory in the fight against coronavirus.

Boris Johnson tonight pledged a ‘big, big stream of vaccines’ would arrive over the coming weeks. Three million have already been given out.

Resident Kate Stewart receives an injection of the Oxford/AstraZeneca coronavirus vaccine from Dr Jess Harvey at the Lady Forester Community nursing home in Wenlock, Shropshire

Resident Kate Stewart receives an injection of the Oxford/AstraZeneca coronavirus vaccine from Dr Jess Harvey at the Lady Forester Community nursing home in Wenlock, Shropshire

Resident Kate Stewart receives an injection of the Oxford/AstraZeneca coronavirus vaccine from Dr Jess Harvey at the Lady Forester Community nursing home in Wenlock, Shropshire

People queue outside the mass NHS Covid-19 vaccine centre that has been set up at the Millennium Point centre in Birmingham

People queue outside the mass NHS Covid-19 vaccine centre that has been set up at the Millennium Point centre in Birmingham

People queue outside the mass NHS Covid-19 vaccine centre that has been set up at the Millennium Point centre in Birmingham

From today, jabs will be available at high street chemists, with 200 stores offering them within two weeks. A string of 24/7 inoculation centres is also being set up, initially for health and care staff. The vaccine figures came on the worst day of the pandemic so far, with another 1,564 lives lost.

The UK has now suffered more than 100,000 deaths involving Covid-19.

Mr Johnson yesterday admitted he was ‘concerned’ about a new Brazilian strain of the virus – with ministers likely to ban all travel to and from the country today following criticism that border checks have been too lax. In other developments:  

  • The Prime Minister admitted there was a ‘very substantial’ risk the NHS will run out of intensive care beds;
  • Sir Patrick Vallance, the chief scientific adviser, warned of high death numbers for some weeks;
  • However he said the lockdown appeared to be working, with infections ‘flattening off at least in some places’;
  • The NHS announced an ambitious target to vaccinate care home residents by January 24;
  • A study said surviving coronavirus gave as much protection against future infection as vaccination;
  • Asda announced that a store in Birmingham would become a mass vaccination centre by next month;
  • A trial of a new treatment for Covid-19 began in the UK;
  • Education Secretary Gavin Williamson suggested teenagers whose GCSE and A-levels were scrapped may still sit exams of some sort;
  • Neither he nor the Prime Minister were able to guarantee that schools would reopen after half term;
  • Family doctors were told to stop routine appointments and help only patients facing medical emergencies during the vaccine rollout.
Mavis, 87, is pushed by her daughter out of the Covid-19 vaccination centre at ExCel London, home to the London Nightingale Hospital, in London

Mavis, 87, is pushed by her daughter out of the Covid-19 vaccination centre at ExCel London, home to the London Nightingale Hospital, in London

Mavis, 87, is pushed by her daughter out of the Covid-19 vaccination centre at ExCel London, home to the London Nightingale Hospital, in London

Around 2.6million people have received at least one dose of Covid vaccine across the UK so far, with just four and a half weeks remaining for the Government to hit its target of reaching the 15million most vulnerable.

Nearly 208,000 received their first dose on Tuesday, according to figures published last night – up from 145,000 the day before.

How doses add up 

Pfizer

has delivered at least 5m doses

AstraZeneca

1m already released to the NHS

3m in vials awaiting batch approval by the MHRA

15m ready to be put in vials

TOTAL at least 24m – of which 3m doses have already been given out leaving 21m

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AstraZeneca, the firm which helped develop the Oxford University vaccine, yesterday revealed it is to double the number of vaccines released to the NHS by next week, with production to then be ramped up to two million doses a week.

The firm is understood to have enough vaccine for 19million doses already in the country, of which 1.1million have already been provided. At least another three million are in vials, awaiting batch approval by regulators. ‘In excess’ of one million of these are expected to be released next week.

Another 15million doses are at factories in Oxford, Staffordshire and Wrexham, waiting to be put in vials.

Pfizer is understood to have delivered at least five million doses.

It means enough doses for 24million vaccines have been provided so far – of which 3million have already been given out.

AstraZeneca is expected to provide a total of 40million by the end of March, by which time Moderna – a third firm with an approved vaccine and a deal with the UK – will start to provide the first of 17million doses.

Batch approval by the Medicines and Healthcare products Regulatory Agency remains a key hurdle – with only two consignments of the Oxford vaccine released for use so far. But officials are confident that issue will be resolved soon.

Above, Boris Johnson pictured today

Above, Boris Johnson pictured today

Above, Boris Johnson pictured today 

A Government spokesman said: ‘The UK has already vaccinated more people than any other country in Europe, and we are mobilising government, the NHS and our armed forces as part of a massive national effort. Our vaccine supply and scheduled deliveries will fully support the vaccination of the top four [priority] groups by February 15.’

Mr Johnson said: ‘We have a big, big stream of vaccines coming down the track but there is also a programme to accelerate the delivery of the Oxford vaccine, the remaining Pfizer vaccine is being brought forward, the Moderna vaccine as well.’

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