COVID-19: Almost 14.6 million receive first vaccine dose as another 621 UK coronavirus deaths reported

There have been a further 621 COVID-related deaths and 13,308 cases in the UK, government data shows.

It brings the UK total to 116,908 deaths and 4,027,106 cases.

On Friday, there were 758 deaths within 28 days of a positive COVID-19 test and 15,144 cases.

Meanwhile, the number of UK adults given one vaccination dose has risen to 14,556,827, putting the government on target to jab the 15 million people in the top four vaccine priority groups by Monday.

This includes older care home residents and staff, everyone over 70, all frontline NHS and care staff, and those who are clinically extremely vulnerable.

A total of 534,869 people have had two doses. The seven-day rolling average of first doses given in the UK is now 441,660.

It comes as Ministers launched a final effort to persuade any remaining eligible adults to come forward for a jab this weekend,

In England, 93% of over-75s have now been vaccinated, but there are still concerns over the uptake in some communities.

NHS medical director Professor Stephen Powis said those who may have been reluctant to receive a vaccine “have not missed their chance” – and encouraged them to make an appointment by using the online national booking service, calling 119, or contacting their local GP practice.

Jabs are now being administered at 267 hospitals, 1,034 local vaccination sites, 90 vaccination centres and 194 community pharmacies – and more than 98% of the UK population now live within 10 miles of a place where they can receive theirs.

Over-65s will begin receiving letters inviting them to get COVID vaccines from early next week.

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Once over-65s have been invited, they will then be followed by all those over 16 with underlying health conditions, the over-60s, the over-55s and then the over-50s.

The government is aiming to offer a vaccine to all those first nine priority groups by May.

Separately, Boris Johnson said he was “optimistic” lockdown in England could be soon be “cautiously” eased.

The prime minister said his plan, which will be unveiled on 22 February, will prioritise the reopening of schools from 8 March.

Non-essential retail will follow, then hospitality venues.

Speaking at the Fujifilm Diosynth Biotechnologies plant in Billingham, Teesside, where the new Novavax vaccine will be manufactured he said: “Our children’s education is our number one priority, but then working forward, getting non-essential retail open as well and then, in due course as and when we can prudently, cautiously, of course we want to be opening hospitality as well.

“I will be trying to set out as much as I possibly can in as much detail as I can, always understanding that we have to be wary of the pattern of disease. We don’t want to be forced into any kind of retreat or reverse ferret.”

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