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Is the UK on track to meet its mid-February vaccination target?

Is the UK on track to meet its mid-February vaccination target?

More and more people in the UK are being vaccinated against COVID-19.

There are currently two approved vaccines in use in the UK, including the Pfizer/BioNTech vaccine and the Oxford/AstraZeneca vaccine. The UK's vaccination rollout began with the first vaccine dose given outside a trial on 8 December 2020. 

The UK Government has said it is aiming to offer a first COVID vaccine dose to everyone in the top four priority groups by 15 February - approximately 15 million people. The Government has said it is on track to meet the target - here's a look at what the latest data suggests...

 

How many people have been vaccinated to date?

So far, 11,465,210 people have received their first dose of a COVID-19 vaccine in the UK (including data up to and on 5 February 2021). 

In the latest 7-day period up to and including 5 February, 3,086,270 people received their first dose of a COVID-19 vaccine.

 

What are the top four priority groups?

The priority order in the UK has been decided by the Joint Committee on Vaccination and Immunisation (JCVI). The top four priority groups are as follows;

  • all residents in a care home and older adults and their carers
  • all those aged 80 and over and frontline health and social care workers
  • all those aged 75 or over
  • all those aged 70 or over and clinically extremely vulnerable individuals under 70 years of age

According to official data, this accounts for around 15 million people of the UK's population and around 88% of all deaths from COVID-19 in the UK are in these cohorts.

The Government's top priority is to ensure that everyone in the above cohorts is offered the opportunity to be vaccinated against the virus by 15 February. Once achieved, the Government aims for other people to be offered a first vaccine dose in the following order, according to the order identified by the JCVI;

  • all those aged 65-69
  • all those considered at risk under the age of 65
  • all those aged 60-64
  • all those aged 55-59
  • all those aged 50-54

A target has been set to offer a vaccine to all of the above cohorts by 15 May. Once completed, other adults will then be offered a vaccine, though the full order and timeline for this is yet to be set out.

 

Is the Government on track to meet its target of giving 15 million people a first COVID vaccine dose by 15 February?

Current data shows that the Government is indeed on track to meet this target, provided the rate of vaccinations continues around similar levels.

The UK is currently around 3.5 million people away from its target, with 9 days to go. To meet the target, there need to be around 393,000 vaccine doses given each day on average in the run up to 15 February 

In the 7 day period up to and including 5 February, the UK gave 440,895 first vaccine doses on average each day - suggesting that the UK should meet its target, even if the vaccination rate slows slightly. If the UK continues at its current vaccination rate, it can be expected that around 15.5 million people will be vaccinated by (not including) 15 February.

The vaccination rate in the UK has increased week on week since the end of December, with more and more vaccination facilities opening, so the actual number of doses given by 15 February could be even higher.

Meeting the target is not guaranteed and relies on adequate supplies of the vaccine remaining available, though there are certainly positive signs currently around the UK's mass vaccination programme.

 

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