More than seven in 10 adults in the UK have received their first Covid-19 vaccine, new figures show.
The Department of Health and Social Care said that health services across the UK had administered 57.8 million vaccines, including 36.9 million people with their first dose – or 70.2% of the adult population.
Meanwhile, 20.8 million people – almost two-fifths (39.6%) of the adult population – had received both doses.
This news comes after health officials have sped up the timetable to offer second jabs in a bid to ensure that those at highest risk are protected from the variant of the virus first identified in India.
At the same time, the programmes are extending to younger age groups to try and mitigate risk.
The NHS in England said vaccine bookings were “booming”, with more than one million appointments made in the last week alone.
Health and Social Care Secretary Matt Hancock said: “Vaccines are turning the tide against this pandemic and I’m incredibly proud the UK has one of the highest uptake rates in the world, with 90% of people saying that they have had or will have the jab.
“Strong evidence shows the vaccines protect you and your loved ones from serious illness and they also reduce transmission, which is why we’ve introduced additional surge measures in the areas with rising cases of the variant first identified in India.
“Thank you to everybody who has come forward so far, we can beat this virus together if we all play our part and get the jab as soon as we’re eligible.”
NHS England’s lead for the Covid vaccination programme, Dr Emily Lawson, added: “The fastest and most successful NHS vaccination programme in history continues to rollout at speed thanks to NHS staff and volunteers, with seven in 10 adults receiving their life-saving jab and two in five receiving both doses.
“Bookings are booming, with over a million appointments made in less than a week since the NHS vaccination programme opened up to people in their 30s – people aged 36 and 37 can now book their jab.
“Our message remains clear, when you are invited for your jab please attend, this could save your life and the people around you.”
The vaccine programme in England is now offering jabs to people aged 36 and over, in Northern Ireland and Scotland the jab is being offered to people aged 30 and over.
In Wales, some 43% of 18 to 29-year-olds have had their first jab and 62% of those aged 20 to 39 have had their first dose.