People in England are being vaccinated four times faster than new cases of the virus are being detected, NHS England’s chief executive has said.
Sir Simon Stevens told the BBC that 140 people a minute were now being given the jab, usually the first dose of two. But he said the NHS had never been in a more precarious position, with 75% more Covid patients than at the April peak.
It comes as a further 298,087 people received their first dose of the vaccine on Saturday. There were also 671 more deaths within 28 days of a positive Covid test, and another 38,598 positive tests.
Sir Simon told the Andrew Marr Show some hospitals would open for vaccinations 24 hours a day, seven days a week on a trial basis in the next 10 days. He said England was on course to deliver 1.5 million doses this week. Scotland has delivered a total of more than 224,000 first doses, Wales has given over 126,000 and Northern Ireland nearly 118,000 – although Scotland and Wales do not report figures at the weekend.
Half of all over-80s have now been vaccinated, Health Secretary Matt Hancock said . “Each jab brings us one step closer to normal,” he said.
Foreign Secretary Dominic Raab told the BBC that the UK was making “good progress” in ensuring every adult was offered a vaccine by September and “if it can be done more swiftly, that’s a bonus”.