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Midlands leads the way as first to reach five million vaccines landmark

The Midlands has become the first NHS region in England to have delivered five million Coronavirus vaccine doses, as the biggest vaccination programme in the history of the NHS continues at pace.

The news comes just days after NHS England and NHS Improvement declared a record-breaking weekend nationally, as 756,873 jabs were administered across England on ‘Super Saturday’ (20 March).

The figure was the highest number of vaccines delivered on any single day since May Parsons delivered the first vaccine outside of a clinical trial at University Hospitals Coventry just 106 days ago.

Margaret Keenan

Margaret Keenan receives the world’s first COVID-19 vaccine at University Hospital Coventry in December. Image credit: PA.

Now the latest figures released today (Wednesday 24 March) have revealed that the Midlands has become the first NHS region in the country to have reached the five million doses landmark, as over 4.75 million people have received their first dose and a further 295,136 thousand have received their second jab.

Extraordinarily, the Midlands is also performing above national averages in all six age-based cohorts over 50 – including having delivered at least one vaccine dose to well over 95% of those aged over 70.

Alison Tonge, the NHS England and NHS Improvement director responsible for overseeing the vaccination programme across the East and West Midlands, said: “Five million vaccines being delivered in just over 100 days since the vaccination programme began right here in the Midlands is a monumental achievement and a fantastic testimony to all the NHS services, their partners, staff and volunteers who have pulled out all the stops to ensure that everyone eligible can receive the life-saving vaccine.

“The way that communities across the Midlands have come together to support this national effort has been remarkable and I would like to thank each and every person who has played their part.

“The fact we have reached this incredible milestone so close to yesterday’s national day of reflection on the one-year anniversary of the first lockdown being announced makes this moment even more poignant, after a day of reflection where we all have taken a moment to remember those we’ve lost, recognise all we have achieved together – but also remember that we still have more to do.

“The vaccines are both safe and effective, so if anyone knows that they or their loved ones are eligible to receive it but have not yet come forward, I would urge them to go online or call 119 to book their appointment.”

People who have been invited or if you are 50 or older, a carer, or health and social care worker please go online to the national booking service to arrange a jab at a time and location that is convenient for them.

The booking service can be accessed online at www.nhs.uk/COVID-vaccination. Anyone who cannot go online can also call the NHS vaccination booking line on 119, free of charge.