MORE than 40 million people in the UK have received their first dose of a coronavirus vaccine, the latest figures show today, as the UK’s vaccination programme continues.

Health services across the UK have now administered a total of 67,287,864 vaccines between December 8 and June 5, including 40,124,229 people with first doses (76.2 per cent) and 27,160,635 people with both doses (51.6 per cent).

A recent study by Public Health England (PHE) shows that two doses of the COVID-19 vaccines are highly effective against the B.1.617.2 (Delta) variant first identified in India.

Health and Social Care Secretary Matt Hancock said: “It is an astonishing achievement to deliver over 40 million first doses in under six months. In all corners of the UK, people are rolling up their sleeves when their time comes to protect themselves and the people around them.

“I pay tribute to the tireless work of the NHS, volunteers and armed forces in building this momentum - but our work is not yet done. I encourage everyone who is eligible to join the millions who have the fullest possible protection from this virus by getting their jab when the time comes.”

Last week, the Medicines and Healthcare products Regulatory Agency (MHRA) announced that Janssen’s COVID-19 vaccine was authorised for use in the UK. It is expected doses will become available later this year.

Vaccinated people are far less likely to get COVID-19 with symptoms. Vaccinated people are even more unlikely to get serious COVID-19, to be admitted to hospital, or to die from it and there is growing evidence that vaccinated people are less likely to pass the virus to others.

Secretary of State for Wales Simon Hart said: “We must continue to build momentum in our effort to save lives and ensure that everyone receives maximum protection. I encourage everyone to continue to do the responsible thing, help to protect loved ones and to get their jabs as soon as they can.”