Almost 140,000 people in the U.K. have been vaccinated against coronavirus in the first week of the rollout, the government said.
Vaccines Minister Nadhim Zahawi said there were 108,000 vaccinations in England, 18,000 in Scotland, 7,897 in Wales and 4,000 in Northern Ireland – a total of 137,897 over seven days.
In a post on Twitter on Wednesday, Zahawi said it was a “really good start” to the vaccination program and the numbers will increase as the shot is rolled out to community-based family doctors.
The U.K. last week became the first western nation to start COVID-19 vaccinations, with those aged over 80, health-care workers and care home staff at the front of the line for the shots made by Pfizer Inc. and BioNTech SE.
Prime Minister Boris Johnson hailed it as a “huge step forward” in the fight against the virus, which has infected more than 1.8 million people and killed more than 64,000 people across Britain.
The program started in 50 hospital hubs across the country but will be rolled out to family doctors and care homes in the coming weeks. All those vaccinated will need a second shot 21 days after the initial injection.
The U.K. has struck deals for 357 million vaccine doses from seven manufacturers, including the Pfizer-BioNTech collaboration. It plans to combine that shot with one from AstraZeneca Plc and the University of Oxford in trials next year, according to the U.K. Vaccine Taskforce.