Vaccine Anniversary: Covid jab one year on in the UK

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Study: Why it's better to get vaccinated in the afternoon
Study: Why it's better to get vaccinated in the afternoon. Credit: Photo by Steven Cornfield on Unsplash

Vaccine Anniversary: Covid jab one year on in the UK.

IT is one year on from the first COVID vaccine being administered in the UK, so on this unique anniversary, let’s take a look at how the rollout has progressed since then.

On December 8, 2020, UK grandmother Margaret Keenan was the first person in the world to be given the Pfizer Covid-19 jab when she received the injection at 6.31 am (UK time) at University Hospital in Coventry – in what she described at the time as the “best early birthday present”.

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Since then, the vaccination programme has administered almost 120 million doses in the UK, with the number of boosters and third doses administered approaching 21 million.

At the time of writing, a total of 118,630,479 vaccines have been administered across the UK, 51,138,245 first doses, 46,582,425 second doses and 20,909,809 booster doses.

Almost 3,000 vaccine sites have also been established across the country, staffed by more than 92,000 NHS staff and over 118,000 volunteers – who have given over 1.9 million hours to help protect millions of people at speed.


There have been different variants of COVID-19:

Alpha

Considered a variant of concern by the World Health Organisation, Alpha was first identified in Kent in the UK in September 2020 and drove the UK’s second wave.

Beta

First documented in South Africa in May 2020, Beta is also considered a variant of concern by WHO.

Gamma

Gamma was first identified in Manaus, Brazil, in November 2020 and is another variant of concern for WHO. At the time of writing it remains the dominant variant in South America.


Delta

A WHO variant of concern now dominant in Europe and the US, Delta continues to drive a steep rise in cases throughout much of Asia and India, where it was first identified in October 2020.

Eta

Cases of the eta variant have turned up in 72 countries including Nigeria and the UK, where it was first detected in December 2020.

Iota

As with eta, little is known about the Iota variant, which was first identified in New York City, USA, in November 2020.

Kappa

First documented in India in October 2020, Kappa is also considered a variant of interest by WHO.

Lambda

First identified in Peru in December 2020, Lambda became the dominant variant within three months, accounting for 80 per cent of all cases.

Omicron

Omicron was first identified in South Africa in , but cases have now been found in many other countries, including the UK.

UK officials mark the one year anniversary

Prime Minister Boris Johnson said: “Since the first jab was delivered one year ago today, our phenomenal vaccine rollout has saved hundreds of thousands of lives and given us the best possible protection against Covid-19.

“So many people have been involved in this national vaccination effort, including our brilliant NHS staff, pharmacists, the military, the thousands of volunteers who dedicated themselves to the rollout, the incredible scientists, researchers and their teams who developed these life-saving vaccinations, and crucially every single one of you who has taken up the offer of a jab with such enthusiasm.

“Our fight against the virus is not over yet, but vaccines remain our first and best line of defence against the virus – so the best way to continue to protect yourself and your loved ones is to get behind the vaccine programme and get boosted as soon as you’re eligible.”

Health and Social Care Secretary Sajid Javid said: “I’m incredibly proud of our phenomenal COVID-19 vaccination programme. In one year we have administered almost 120 million doses across the UK, saving countless lives and giving us a powerful weapon to fight this devastating virus.

“The battle is not yet over and we are working around the clock to boost the booster programme to maximise immunity following the emergence of the Omicron variant.

“It is absolutely crucial everybody comes forward for their vaccines and booster jabs as soon as you are eligible so we can strengthen our wall of defence against COVID-19 and enjoy Christmas safely with our families and loved ones this year.”

Interesting stats from the UK’s COVID-19 vaccination programme:

  • The highest number of new vaccinations reported in one day in the UK was 844,285 on 20 March 2021 – that’s equivalent to vaccinating the entire population of Liverpool in one day.
  • The highest number of new vaccinations reported in a 7-day period in the UK was 4,215,859 between 15th-21st March 2021 – that’s equivalent to vaccinating the entire population of Birmingham more than four times in a week.
  • More than 3,000 vaccine sites are now available in England – double the number than February.

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