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Posted: Sun, Feb 28, 2021, 15:11

More than 20 million people in the UK have now had their first dose of the coronavirus vaccine, Health Secretary Matt Hancock has said.

He said it was "a magnificent achievement for the country" and "the vaccine is our route out".

The government is aiming to offer all adults a first dose by the end of July.

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From Monday, nearly two million people aged 60 to 63 in England will start receiving letters inviting them to book their vaccine.

The government's next target is to offer a first dose to all over-50s by 15 April, as well as people aged 16-64 with certain underlying health conditions and unpaid carers for disabled and elderly people.

After that, they will start offering jabs to people by age group.

There are no plans yet to vaccinate children, although trials have been announced to test the Oxford University jab on children.

When will it be my turn to be vaccinated?
"When you get the call, get the jab," said Mr Hancock.

In a video on Twitter, he said: "I'm absolutely delighted that over 20 million people have now been vaccinated across the UK - it's absolutely fantastic.

"I want to thank every single person who's come forward to get the jab because we know with increasing confidence that the jab protects you, it protects your community and it also is the route out of this for all of us."

Meanwhile, vaccines minister Nadhim Zahawi tweeted: "Bingo!" adding, "What an achievement for February 2021. What a team! Proud to be with you on this journey."

The government has not yet published its daily coronavirus figures - but the 20 million figure will apply to the number of people who have had their first dose.

According to Saturday's figures, more than 19.6 million people in the UK had received their first dose while the number of people who had had their second was 768,810.

Meanwhile, NHS England said people in the 60-63 age bracket would start receiving letters on Monday explaining how to book a jab through the national booking service, with those aged 50 to 60 set to be invited "shortly".

It said the vaccine rollout was gaining "fresh momentum", with medical director Prof Stephen Powis urging anyone who had been invited to take up the offer.

"It doesn't matter when you were invited you can still come forward and protect yourself and others," he said.

NHS England Sir Simon Stevens said vaccine supplies are expected to increase in March, adding: "We're planning for further acceleration as we head towards Easter."