Mass vaccination could blunt epidemic in U.K. in weeks.February 6, 2021
LONDON — Britain is on a pace to give the first shot of a two-dose coronavirus vaccine to its entire population by the end of June, if it can avoid supply and logistical issues that threaten to slow one of the world’s fastest rollouts.
The most vulnerable will get their first doses much sooner — probably over the next two weeks — which could drastically reduce deaths. People over 70, nursing home residents and workers, health and social care workers, and those whose health problems make them extremely vulnerable are all on schedule to receive their first vaccine shots before Feb. 15. Together, these groups have accounted for 88 percent of all Covid-19 deaths.
The timeline shows the promise of vaccination as a path out of the deadliest stage of the pandemic in the countries that are moving quickly. Early data out of Israel shows a significant drop in infection after just one shot, and a recent analysis suggested that the AstraZeneca-Oxford vaccine not only provides good protection against illness and death but also has potential to reduce transmission of the virus. Scientists have said that the results are promising but must still be confirmed.
As of Wednesday, Britain had vaccinated more than 15 percent of its population, a higher proportion than anywhere in the world, aside from Israel and the United Arab Emirates. The United States was about 8 percent, and the European Union was below 3 percent.