London, March 29: The UK government will not be sharing surplus COVID-19 vaccines with other counties until all its adult population have been offered the jab, Prime Minister Boris Johnson's spokesperson said on Monday, playing down recent media reports that the United Kingdom would be offering Ireland 3.7 million vaccine doses soon.
"Our first priority is to protect the British public. The vaccine rollout is continuing to that end. We don't currently have a surplus of vaccines but we will consider how they are best allocated as they become available," the spokesperson told reporters during a press briefing at number 10 Downing Street.
The official reaffirmed that the government's plan is to ensure that all people over 50 years of age in the UK are offered their first dose by April 15, and to all adults above 18 -- accounting for 52.7 million of the country's 66.7 million population -- by the end of July. Russian President Vladimir Putin Felt Minor Side Effects After Taking First Shot of COVID-19 Vaccine: Report.
According to official figures, as for Sunday, 30.1 million people -- 57 percent of all adults -- had received at least one dose of either the Pfizer/BioNTech or AstraZeneca/Oxford vaccines since the immunization campaign started in December 2020, and a total of 3.5 million of them have been given their second dose.
The UK has ordered over 400 million vaccine doses and charity organizations such as Save the Children and the Wellcome Trust have been urging the government to start donating its vaccine surplus to poorer countries.
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