Three-quarters of adults in UK have now had first COVID jab

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More than three-quarters of adults in the UK have now had their first COVID-19 vaccine dose.

Health Secretary Matt Hancock confirmed the milestone was reached by midnight on Tuesday in a speech in which he praised the role of the NHS, scientists, the UK medicines' regulator the MHRA and the vaccine taskforce in the vaccine rollout.

Speaking at the University of Oxford, where the AstraZeneca vaccine was developed, he said his first meeting about the vaccine was in January 2020, just after the virus' genomic sequence was traced and was told a vaccine might never be developed as a jab against a human coronavirus had never been made before.

It comes the day after no deaths within 28 days of testing positive for coronavirus were reported for the first time since 30 July last year.

Mr Hancock's comments came amid a continuing debate over whether the final stages of unlocking restrictions in England can go ahead later this month due to concerns over the spread of the Indian variant.

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Boris Johnson has said he still sees nothing in the data to suggest the plan to end all legal lockdown restrictions in England on June 21 will need to be delayed.

But the prime minister added there was a need to wait "a little bit longer" before a firm decision could be made.

However, Dr David Nabarro, the World Health Organisation's special envoy on COVID-19, told Sky News that despite low infection levels, unlocking restrictions too quickly in the UK could create a further "spike" in infections.

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