Prime Minister Boris Johnson has said that the drop in Covid cases has mainly been achieved by the lockdown measures, and not the vaccination programme.
The UK’s coronavirus vaccination programme is now well underway, but the Prime Minister said lockdown has been “overwhelmingly important” in the decline of Covid-19 infections, hospitalisations and deaths.
Speaking at 10 Downing Street, Mr Johnson said: “The numbers are down - of infections and hospitalisations and deaths.
"But it is very, very important for everybody to understand that the reduction in these numbers - in hospitalisations and in deaths and infections - has not been achieved by the vaccination programme.”
"People don't, I think, appreciate that it's the lockdown that has been overwhelmingly important in delivering this improvement in the pandemic and in the figures that we're seeing,” Mr Johnson added.
Although he said that “the vaccination programme has helped” the decline in Covid cases, Mr Johnson added that “the bulk of the work in reducing the disease has been done by the lockdown.”
However, the Prime Minister did say that as lockdown measures are lifted, “the result will inevitably be that we will see more infection, sadly we will see more hospitalisation and deaths, and people have just got to understand that."
Vaccination programme reaches target
All adults over-50s in the UK have now been offered their first dose of a Covid vaccine.
The Government aimed to offer the coronavirus vaccine to all of its top nine priority groups by 15 April, but met its target three days ahead of schedule on 12 April.
Almost 40 million doses of the Pfizer and AstraZeneca vaccines have been administered in the UK since the rollout began in December 2020 the Government has said, including 32 million first jabs and more than seven million second doses.
The Prime Minister thanked those involved with the vaccination rollout and said the UK remains on course to offer a first jab to all adults by the end of July.
In a statement, Mr Johnson said: “We have now passed another hugely significant milestone in our vaccine programme by offering jabs to everyone in the nine highest risk groups.
“That means more than 32 million people have been given the precious protection vaccines provide against Covid 19.
“I want to thank everyone involved in the vaccine rollout which has already saved many thousands of lives.
“We will now move forward with completing essential second doses and making progress towards our target of offering all adults a vaccine by the end of July.”