Every UK adult offered first dose of Covid vaccine`

Sophie Smith, 18, from North Walsham was among those to attend the walk-in vaccine centre at Market

All UK adults have been given the chance to get their first Covid vaccine. - Credit: Neil Didsbury

Every adult in the UK has now been given the opportunity to get their first Covid vaccine, the Department of Health has said.

In total 68,688,329 have been given out across England, with 8,130,485 of those in the eastern region according to NHS data published on Saturday.

Norfolk jabs account for 1,587,764 of those doses.

Across the whole of the UK, 87.8pc of eligible people have received their first vaccine, while 67.8pc have had both jabs.

The prime minister has hailed the numbers as "an extraordinary achievement" as the government celebrates reaching its target of vaccinating two in three adults by July 19.

Boris Johnson said: "Thank you again to everyone coming forward, and to those helping others to get jabbed. You are the reason we are able to cautiously ease restrictions next week, and return closer towards normal life.

"Now let’s finish the job. If you’re over 18, book both your jabs today."

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A total of 901,767 people across Norfolk's seven local authorities have had their first dose of the jab, while 76.1pc of those (685,997) have been fully vaccinated.

Analysis from Public Health England and University of Cambridge researchers suggests vaccines have prevented an estimated 11.8m infections and 37,000 deaths across England.

Health secretary Sajid Javid said: "The fact we have hit another vaccine target early is testament to the sheer dedication of NHS teams and local volunteers in every corner of the UK who are at the centre of the phenomenal rollout of the life-saving vaccines.

“Our world-leading vaccination programme is helping to build up a strong defence around our population, saving tens of thousands of lives and preventing millions of infections to allow us to cautiously progress through the roadmap. 

“Please come forward for your vaccines if you haven’t already."

July 19 marks the so-called 'freedom day' in England, when rules around masks and social distancing become guidance that will no longer be enforced – though measures are still advised in high-risk areas.

UEA professor Paul Hunter, a leading expert in viral illnesses, said he believes this is the right window for restrictions to be lifted – but added he could not rule out the possibility of more being needed at a later date.