Ten million people in the UK have now had their first dose of the coronavirus vaccine, Health Secretary Matt Hancock has said.
“This is a hugely significant milestone in our national effort against this virus. Every jab makes us all a bit safer – I want to thank everyone playing their part,” Mr Hancock said.
Nearly 500,000 people have had a second jab, according to government data up to the 1 February.
It comes as the team behind the Oxford University/AstraZeneca jab said vaccines against new variants of coronavirus should be ready to be rolled out by October.
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Scientists have discovered that variants of COVID-19 which have the E484K mutation could reduce the efficacy of vaccines.
Although, jabs are still expected to provide good protection against illness and severe disease.
This mutation is present in the variants first identified in South Africa and Kent.
More than 100 cases of the South African variant have been detected in the UK, prompting surge-testing in eight postcode areas of England where community transmission is feared.
The mutation has also been detected in Bristol in the variant first identified in Kent, and in Liverpool in a new variant of the original pandemic strain.
But Professor Pollard told a media briefing held by AstraZeneca: “I think the actual work on designing a new vaccine is very, very quick because it’s essentially just switching out the genetic sequence for the spike protein, for the updated variants.
“And then there’s manufacturing to do and then a small-scale study.
“So all of that can be completed in a very short period of time, and the autumn is really the timing for having new vaccines available for use rather than for having the clinical trials run.”
Separately, an outbreak of coronavirus has been confirmed at the Valneva vaccine site in Livingston, Scotland, which was visited by Boris Johnson last week.
And Baroness Dido Harding, head of NHS Test and Trace, told MPs that around 20,000 people a day contacted by the system are not fully complying with instructions to self-isolate.
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