Column: Nadhim Zahawi on ‘extraordinary achievement’ of UK's vaccine programme

Nadhim Zahawi, Minister for Vaccine Deployment, on how the UK working together has delivered the ‘extraordinary achievement’ of vaccinating more than half the adults in Great Britain in such a short space of time:

In just over 14 weeks, NHS workers have vaccinated more than half of all adults in the UK with the first dose of a Covid jab.

This is an extraordinary achievement. More than 26.5 million doses have been administered in record time and this is the equivalent of vaccinating the entire population of Australia in just over 100 days.

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More than two million people in Scotland have received their first doses and this is testament to the incredible dedication and tireless work of the NHS, GPs, pharmacists, the Armed Forces, local authorities and volunteers.

Nadhim Zahawi, Minister for COVID Vaccine Deployment (Photo by Chris J Ratcliffe/Getty Images)

Every jab in the arm moves us a step closer to seeing our friends and family again, which is why I am so proud of the way we have all come together to work as one United Kingdom.

This has been a joint effort. As the UK Government we used our significant buying power to secure 457 million doses on behalf of all of us.

This allowed the rapid and organised deployment which has given our most vulnerable citizens in every corner of the UK strong protection from this awful virus.

Alongside the impressive efforts of the NHS, the British Army is working hard in all parts of the UK to get jabs into arms as quickly as possible, and they have helped to build 80 new vaccine centres across Scotland.

We could soon have access to more vaccines, including the Valneva jab, which is being manufactured in Livingston in Scotland.

The vaccine is currently going through clinical trials, and if it meets rigorous standards of safety and effectiveness and is approved by the MHRA, we will have access to 60 million doses by the end of the year, which would help protect not just people i

n Scotland, but people across the UK, and the whole world.

We have been doing everything in our power to back these innovators, and our multi-million pound investment in Valneva will create another 100 high skilled jobs in West Lothian. It is yet another example of our great scientific power and what can be achieved when we all work together.

The Health Secretary and I have had very productive meetings with our Scottish counterparts, sharing knowledge, experience and unblocking issues, throughout the vaccination programme. Our Chief Medical Officers have been joined up too and it’s made all the difference in helping us get the jab to everyone who needs it most.

This terrific milestone highlights the importance of working hand in hand for the benefit of all our people. Long may it continue.

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