More than 20 million people across the United Kingdom have now received their first COVID-19 vaccine shot, data showed on Sunday as the country made more progress with Europe’s fastest vaccination programme.
Prime Minister Boris Johnson said the milestone represented “a huge national achievement and he paid testament to the country’s health, workers, volunteers and armed forces.
“I urge everyone to get the jab when called,” Johnson said. “Every jab makes a difference in our battle against COVID.”
Britain has suffered the highest COVID-19 death toll in Europe – it currently stands at 122,849 – and the heaviest economic shock among big rich countries, according to the headline measures of official data.
But the pace of its vaccination roll-out has raised the prospect of a gradual lifting of its current lockdown restrictions between now and the end of June.
On Sunday, finance minister Rishi Sunak promised to help the economy while the country remains under restrictions.