UK hits key vaccine target just as pubs, shops and salons reopen


Britain said late Monday it had hit a target to offer a coronavirus vaccine first dose to all over-50s by mid-April, as England’s lockdown-weary population toasted a significant easing of restrictions with pints and much-needed haircuts.

Prime Minister Boris Johnson said the UK had passed “another hugely significant milestone” after confirming a jab had been offered to all over-50s, the clinically vulnerable and health and social care workers, ahead of a self-imposed April 15 deadline.

“That means more than 32 million people have been given the precious protection vaccines provide against Covid 19,” said Johnson in a statement. He added that efforts would now focus on delivering second doses and offering all adults an initial shot by August.

Johnson had earlier hailed the latest lifting of rules as “a major step forward in our roadmap to freedom”, after pubs were allowed to reopen to serve drinkers outside and non-essential retailers and hairdressers restarted.

Some pubs, many shuttered for large chunks of the last year, wasted no time and opened on the stroke of midnight, while others opened just in time for breakfast.

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