Almost 140,000 people have been vaccinated against Covid-19 in the UK in seven days, the first figures released reveal.
The vaccines minister, Nadhim Zahawi, said 137,897 people had received the Pfizer/BioNTech jab so far, including 108,000 people in England, 7,897 in Wales, 4,000 in Northern Ireland and 18,000 in Scotland.
The UK has already ordered 40 million doses of the vaccine. The Health Secretary, Matt Hancock, has said he hopes several million people can be vaccinated before Christmas.
The data was released ahead of a second meeting this morning of the four UK governments to discuss the relaxation of some rules over Christmas.
It comes after sources at yesterday’s meeting, chaired by Michael Gove, revealed that Nicola Sturgeon had proposed reducing the number of households in a Christmas bubble from three to two, as well as cutting the number of days.
This morning, the Communities Secretary, Robert Jenrick, said Easter could be the “new Christmas”, and suggested some people might want to put off large family gatherings until the spring.
Speaking to Sky News, Mr Jenrick said: “The legal framework will continue but because the rate of infection in many parts of the country, because we can see the international examples like Thanksgiving, it is incumbent on each and every family across the country , this morning and in the days ahead to have that conversation around the breakfast table and ask ‘is this right for our family?’
“This is a virus that thrives on social interaction, so bringing more people together, even over this short period of time, is not cost-free. It will have consequences in terms of increasing the rate. It will rise.”