'Truly significant progress': More than half of UK population has first Covid jab with numbers topping 33 million

Over 33 million UK residents have had their first jab in the arm as NHS deputy chief praises ‘astonishing achievement’

More than half of the UK’s total population has received a first dose of a Covid vaccine – NHS data shows.

NHS England numbers up to April 23 reveals that 38,189,536 jabs in the arm have been given in England so far - with 28,102,852 vaccines documented as first doses.

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The first dose total so far is now 33,496,293, with more recent figures still to be reported by Wales, Scotland and Northern Ireland.

Half of residents in the UK have had their first Covid jab, NHS England figures have found. (Photo by Pascal Guyot/AFP via Getty Images)

Anyone aged 45 and over can still arrange their jab in England, as well as people who are clinically vulnerable or health and care workers.

‘Truly significant progress’

Deputy chief executive of NHS providers Saffron Cordery said: “It is an astonishing achievement that half of the UK population has now had at least one Covid-19 jab.

“In under five months, frontline NHS staff in trusts and primary care and volunteers have done an incredible job giving out over 33 million first jabs and more than 11 million second doses.

“We owe each and every one of them our thanks. We’ve made truly significant progress but we’ve still got a long way to go until we reach our next major milestone of offering all adults their first jab by the end of July.

“In the meantime, we’d encourage everyone to have their Covid vaccines when they are offered it and to continue following the rules on social contact.

“These measures are key to keeping Covid infection rates under control and helping ensure this current lockdown is our last.”

Real-world data

Experts have said vaccines should be able to control the pandemic as they published new real-world UK data showing that jabs slash infection and are likely to cut transmission.

Just one dose of either the Pfizer/BioNTech or Oxford/AstraZeneca vaccine leads to a two-thirds drop in coronavirus cases and is 74% effective against symptomatic infection, the Press Association has reported.

After two doses of Pfizer, there was a 70% reduction in all cases and a 90% drop in symptomatic cases.

Experts are still collecting data on two doses of AstraZeneca but say their findings show that both vaccines work and are effective in the real world.

One of the new studies, which has yet to be peer-reviewed, is based on data from the national Covid Infection Survey run by the University of Oxford and the Office for National Statistics (ONS).

It included a random sample of more than 373,000 adults from across the UK, who produced more than 1.6 million swab test results between December and April.

Professor Sarah Walker, from the University of Oxford and chief investigator for the survey, said the study suggested vaccines could reduce transmission and were also effective against the Kent variant of coronavirus.