Who has received the Covid vaccine in the UK so far?

Dan Sabbagh, Robert Booth, Denis Campbell, Niamh McIntyre, Nazia Parveen, Caelainn Barr, Helen Pidd and Pamela Duncan
·7-min read
<span>Photograph: Andy Rain/EPA</span>
Photograph: Andy Rain/EPA

Britain is within touching distance of completing the first step in the coronavirus vaccination programme, as official figures showed that 13.5 million people had received a first jab out of a target group of about 15m.

Take-up has been higher than expected, but concerns remain that among black, Asian and minority ethnic communities it is markedly worse – and that there are some areas, including care workers and NHS staff, where vaccination rates are lower.

Below we list the progress in each area so far, and what is expected next.

Care homes

Care home residents and their carers were the top priority for the vaccine when the distribution began. But by last Sunday, 17,000 residents in England’s old age care homes were still to receive their first dose, according to the latest data released on Thursday.

They are in the small minority, because 94% of the 265,295 old age care home residents eligible for the vaccine have received a jab, NHS England said. A further 28,000 residents have not been deemed eligible because they have tested positive in the last 28 days or cannot receive the jab on medical grounds.

Coverage has been far patchier among care workers, despite being in the same high-priority band. More than 40% of staff at the UK’s biggest care home provider have still not received vaccinations. HC-One, which provides 20,000 beds across 329 homes in the UK, said its latest figures showed 64% of its staff had been offered the vaccine, while 7% had declined it.

There are also concerns about GPs reaching the housebound elderly. In south Cambridgeshire, one cluster of GP practices last week told the relatives of a 93-year-old woman that she was one of 400 such people they had yet to reach. “We are extremely concerned for her safety due to the risk of being infected by her carers,” said her nephew. Robert Booth

Watch: Coronavirus vaccine in numbers - More than 13.5 million receive first jab

NHS workers

After a slow start, the rollout of the Covid vaccines among NHS staff has gathered such pace in recent weeks that a large majority of healthcare workers have now had at least their first dose.

There are no official national figures for take-up by NHS personnel. However, that is now running at 70% in many NHS trusts in England and as high as 90% and 91% in a few, the Guardian understands.

A survey of 24,370 nurses this week by the Royal College of Nursing showed that 85% of nurses across the UK had had either their first dose or, in a few cases, both.

But 15% – about 75,000 people – had still not had any. It also found much lower take-up rates among nurses who, while they do not work in a hospital or GP practice, still give patients face-to-face care, such as district nurses, health visitors and those in care homes.

Vaccine uptake is lower among BAME staff. In one trust, only 35% of non-white personnel had had the vaccine, prompting it to launch a campaign to encourage wider engagement.

A senior figure at one big London trust said: “About 70% of our staff overall have had their first dose. The 30% who haven’t had it are all types of staff, but the lowest uptake has been among BAME groups, especially black staff, and people in manual jobs such as porters and cleaners.” Denis Campbell

Over-70s and the clinically extremely vulnerable

The pace of vaccination among the elderly and clinically vulnerable – the majority of the initial four priority groups – has been almost exactly in line with Boris Johnson’s target of completion by 15 February.

More significantly, willingness to have the jab has been unexpectedly high. Figures released on Thursday show that 6.5 million people aged 70 and over in England had received their first jab by 7 February, accounting for 86% of the total. Ministers had hoped for a 75% acceptance rate.

For those aged 75-79, first dose coverage was 96%, the highest proportion of any age group. For those aged 80 and over, the figure was 91%. Of those aged 70-74, 74% had been jabbed – although many from that group will have been seen this week, after the data was generated.

Such has been the pace of vaccination that some GPs and vaccination centres have been reporting a lack of available patients and were calling on Johnson to give the green light to move on to on younger people. But the focus of the UK vaccination policy has been to prevent mortality – and 88% of all Covid related deaths come from the top four groups. Dan Sabbagh and Niamh McIntyre

BAME communities

The racial disparity in vaccinations is rapidly becoming a glaring issue. While more than 9 million first and second doses have been given to white people, covering 18.4% of that population in England, that figure plummets to just 175,053 vaccinations for black people (8.7%).

People from Asian and mixed ethnicity backgrounds are also less likely to have been vaccinated, with 11.2% and 7.7% of those groups receiving a jab respectively up to 7 February.

Among over-80s, white people are six times more likely to have received a vaccine than black people in the same age group, according to research by academics at University of Oxford and London School of Hygiene & Tropical Medicine.

Dr Perpetua Emeagi, lecturer in human biology and biological sciences at Liverpool Hope University, said ministers needed to tackle deep-seated concerns surrounding the vaccine.

“I’ve spoken with extremely sceptical people who actually work in the healthcare profession, while others have even accused me of taking payment to spread propaganda! That’s the level of suspicion we’re talking about.”

Equality campaigners have described the situation as a crisis, with the vaccines minister, Nadhim Zahawi, saying the government was very concerned about low uptake among BAME communities. In January, ministers pledged a fund worth more than £23m to try to quell the spread of misinformation. Nazia Parveen and Caelainn Barr

Younger people

Despite strict rules limiting the vaccines to the four priority groups, around the country many people have managed to skip the queue.

Some clinics have offered “leftover” shots to younger people at the end of the day that would otherwise have been thrown away. This is particularly true with the Pfizer vaccine, which must be used within three days after coming out of deep-freeze. To avoid waste, some sites operate a standby list of patients within a certain radius – one Guardian reader in her 30s said she got the jab in Sheffield on the iciest day of the year after her GP called her to say they had a spare dose because of weather-related cancellations and she could have it if she was there within half an hour.

Other vaccination centres have taken a more liberal approach to who belongs in the priority groups. Some limit the vaccines to frontline health and social care workers, while others have offered them to anyone who works for an organisation or charity working broadly on the pandemic effort, regardless of whether they have a public-facing role. These include more than 100 Public Health England workers, as well as NHS employees working from home. Helen Pidd

Who’s up next?

Due next are 65-69-year-olds, in priority group five, amounting to 2.9 million people across the UK. At current rates, the group could in theory be vaccinated in little over a week, but previously ministers have decided to take two groups at a time – and vaccination of both groups is due to start in earnest next week.

That would bring in group 6 – by far the largest of any of the priority groups – which contains 7.3 million people. These are adults with underlying health conditions of any age between 18 and 64 who were not already covered in the “extremely vulnerable” group that should have already received an initial vaccination.

The group includes people with chronic heart, lung, kidney and liver conditions; diabetics; certain cancer suffers; people with Down’s syndrome; those with severe mental illness; and the morbidly obese, with a BMI of over 40.

Significantly, this group also includes unpaid adult carers, defined as those receiving carer’s allowance, plus anybody who is a main carer of an elderly or disabled person who could be at risk if the carer falls ill.

If vaccinations continue at current rates, in excess of 400,000 a day, then it would be possible to offer first doses to groups 5 and 6 by early March before the requirement for large numbers of second jabs emerges towards the end of the month, when the 12-week gap expires. Dan Sabbagh

Watch: What UK government COVID-19 support is available?