Tuesday 5 January 2021 5:24 pm

UK has now vaccinated 1.3m against Covid-19 as cases surge above 60,000

The UK has now vaccinated 1.3m people against Covid, with almost a quarter of people over the age of 80 in this country now given their first jab.

Boris Johnson said this meant in two to three weeks that all these people would have a “significant degree of immunity” against the virus.

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The Prime Minister also announced there would be 1,000 UK GP surgeries and hospitals offering Covid vaccinations by the end of the week and that seven large venues, such as sports stadia and exhibition centres, will open as “vaccination centres” next week.

“When you consider the average age of Covid fatalities is in the 80s, you can see the importance of what has been already achieved,” he said.

“That’s why I believe the Joint Committee on Immunisation and Vaccination was right to draw up a programme that aims at saving the most lives the fastest.

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“By 15 February, the NHS is committed to offering a vaccination to everyone in the top four priority groups, including older care home residents and staff, everyone over 70 and all frontline NHS and care staff and all those clinically extremely vulnerable.”

Johnson also promised from next Monday to provide daily updates on vaccination numbers to show the country “jab by jab how much progress we are making”.

Chief medical officer Chris Whitty said the vaccination target outlined by the Prime Minister was “realistic, but not easy”.

“The NHS is going to have to use multiple channels to do this, but that does not make it easy and of course in the case of the Pfizer vaccine…it’s more difficult to handle because of the complicated cold chain model,” he said.

It comes as the UK recorded another 60,000 Covid cases today – yet another one-day record.

Cases are the highest in London and the South East and East of England.

More than 17,000 people have been admitted to hospital with coronavirus over the past seven days, an 18.6 per cent rise week-on-week.

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The seven-day average of deaths is now over 500, which is still lower than during the worst parts of last year’s first peak.

Whitty said this was because doctors now can treat Covid better and because there is usually a two to three lag between hospitalisations rising and the death tally rising.