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COVID-19: Largest vaccine campaign in British history saw around 132 million coronavirus jabs given in 2021

Around 132 million coronavirus vaccine doses were administered in 2021 – the largest inoculation campaign in British history.

More than 90% of the population over the age of 12 has had the first dose of a COVID-19 vaccine, while 82.4% have had their second.

The identification and subsequent spread of the Omicron variant prompted an acceleration of the booster jabs rollout in December.

More than 1.6 million people got a booster dose in the final week of last year, bringing the total number of adults boosted to 34 million.

The NHS administered a record 830,000 vaccine doses in a single day on 18 December.

‘Historic’ programme has proved ‘vital’

Boris Johnson initially set a target of offering all eligible adults a booster jab by the end of January, but the prime minister brought this forward by a month in response to the rapid spread of Omicron.

The acceleration was backed by 750 armed forces workers, while the government suspended the 15-minute observation period following booster jabs for most people.

Health Secretary Sajid Javid said the “historic vaccination programme” has been “vital in helping us step up” to meet the challenges thrown up by the COVID pandemic.

He said “132 million vaccinations in a single year is astounding and a true reflection of the fantastic work of our NHS and its volunteers”, adding: “I want to thank each and every one of them.

“But we need to make sure people continue to come forward for their life-saving jab.

“As we go into the New Year, make sure you ‘Get Boosted Now’ to kick off 2022 with the best possible protection from Omicron.”

‘Something we can all be proud of’

Vaccines minister Maggie Throup echoed the health secretary’s call – and described the vaccine rollout as a source of national pride.

“The UK COVID-19 vaccination programme is something we can all be proud of – having provided tens of millions of people with protection from this deadly virus over the past year,” she said.

According to UK Health Security Agency data, individuals who are unvaccinated are up to eight times more likely to be admitted to hospital than those who are fully vaccinated.

Latest figures from the Office for National Statistics found that one in 25 people in England had COVID last week, while one in 15 had the virus in London.

Daily case numbers continue to set records, with England reporting a fresh high of 162,572 new COVID cases in the latest 24-hour period.

The government usually releases daily figures for the whole of the UK, but Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland did not release their data on Saturday.

The UK reported 189,846 cases on New Year’s Eve – a record total for all four nations in the pandemic.

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