More than 137,000 people in the UK have received the first dose of the Pfizer/BioNTech COVID-19 vaccine in the first week of the largest vaccination programme in British history.
The majority of the vaccines have been administered to the over-80s, care home workers and NHS staff through more than 70 sites across the UK. GP-led centres started vaccinating patients this week in England and the roll out will expand to care homes soon.
Over the coming weeks and months, the rate of vaccinations will increase as more doses become available and the programme continues to expand.
Health and Social Care Secretary Matt Hancock said: "Thanks to the hard work of the NHS across the UK, over 137,000 people have already received the first dose of the coronavirus vaccine. This is just the start and we will steadily expand our vaccination programme – ultimately helping everyone get back to normal life."
The Pfizer/BioNTech vaccine is the first vaccine to be authorised for use by the medicines regulator, the Medicines and Healthcare products Regulatory Agency (MHRA). Patients require two doses of the vaccine – 21 days apart – for the vaccine to be fully effective.
The Vaccines Taskforce has secured 40 million doses of the Pfizer/BioNTech vaccine for the whole of the UK. However, rolling reviews on the Oxford/AstraZeneca and Moderna vaccines are underway and, if authorised by the MHRA, will mean there are more doses available to vaccinate those most in need.