The United Kingdom capped off the busiest week of its mass vaccination programme with a "Super Saturday" as the National Health Service (NHS) administered nearly 100,000 shots within an hour.
A record 756,873 jabs were administered across England, including 686,424 first doses to round off a "bumper week", PTI quoted the NHS as saying on Sunday.
Between 11 am and 12 pm on Saturday, healthcare workers delivered 96,834 shots, at an average of 1,614 a minute or 27 every second.
That number took total jabs in the last seven days 956,352 higher than the previous busiest week.
“The speed and precision of the NHS vaccination campaign has been on full display this weekend, and yesterday NHS staff across England administered a remarkable 27 jabs a second. In just one day we vaccinated the equivalent of the entire adult populations of Liverpool, Southampton and Oxford combined,” said Sir Simon Stevens, NHS England CEO.
“When my turn came earlier this week I was delighted to get my first dose, and we have a strong supply of vaccine for the coming week too, so if you are aged 50 plus, don't delay! Now is a great time to book your NHS COVID jab – it's quick and efficient, safe and effective, and painless," he said.
In all, 25,150,062 doses have been delivered providing protection to 23,559,503 people since the NHS vaccination programme kicked off little over 100 days ago in December 2020. More than 1.5 million vital second doses have also been administered.
The record week meant that more than half of adults in England had been vaccinated by last Thursday, with UK Prime Minister Boris Johnson receiving his jab at St. Thomas’s hospital, in London, where he was treated while critically ill with COVID-19, on Friday.
He had said that he “literally did not feel a thing”, adding: “It was very good, very quick and I cannot recommend it too highly. Everybody, when you get your notification to go for a jab please go and get it.”
Doctors, nurses and countless other staff, supported by volunteers and others, are delivering vaccines across the UK at more than 1,600 sites ranging from cathedrals, mosques and temples to racecourses, sports stadiums, cinemas and museums.
Dr Emily Lawson, NHS England’s chief commercial officer and senior responsible officer for vaccine rollout, said, “It is remarkable that because of the sustained hard work of NHS staff and all those involved in delivering jabs up and down the country, the vaccination programme has once again topped its own success with its busiest week to date. I could not be more proud of all those involved who have helped us to achieve this latest milestone."
“This week we moved on to offering vaccines to those aged 50 and above and we are making great progress so we urge anyone in this group to make use of the huge range of sites you can book in to across the country and get your jab.”
Dr Nikki Kanani, NHS England’s primary care director, added, “Thanks to the huge efforts of NHS staff, vaccinators, volunteers, and everyone working tirelessly seven days a week on the vaccination programme, it continues to be a great success.
“These efforts have meant that the NHS had vaccinated half of all adults in England by Thursday and saw a sequence of record-breaking days topping off the most successful week in the programme so far. I would encourage anyone who is aged 50 plus to have the vaccine – it’s safe, quick and effective and we have a variety of locations up and down the country where you can book in to get your jab.”
The UK has set a target to vaccinate all adults against the deadly virus by the end of July and the government has sought to allay fears that an expected shortage in vaccine supply next month will not affect that timetable.