Some 15 million people including care home residents and workers, front line healthcare workers, people over the age of 70 and the clinically extremely vulnerable had been given their first jab by 15 February, according to official figures.
Prime minister Boris Johnson described reaching the goal as an “extraordinary feat” that had taken “a truly national effort” and claimed everyone in the top four categories in England had been offered their first injection.
In February, the UK's Covid vaccine rollout was the third fastest of any country in the world, behind only Israel and the United Arab Emirates, according to Our World in Data.
There are concerns, however, that some vulnerable and elderly people are not being reached, while vaccine uptake is low among some black and ethnic minority communities.
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On 15 February the health secretary, Matt Hancock, announced that the vaccine programme will expand to the next stage. According to a government plan published in January, the next priority groups are:
all those 65 years of age and over
all individuals aged 16 years to 64 years with underlying health conditions which put them at higher risk of serious disease and mortality
all those 60 years of age and over
all those 55 years of age and over
all those 50 years of age and over
As of 17 January, 15,940,972 people across the UK had received their first vaccine dose and 558,577 had been given their second shot.
The news of the mid-February target being hit came as the first guests checked into government-designated accommodation for hotel quarantine.
UK and Irish nationals and UK residents returning to England from 33 “red list” countries - hotspots with Covid-19 variants in circulation - are required to quarantine in hotels for 10 days.
Anyone who has been in a high-risk location has to enter England through a designated port and have pre-booked a package to stay at one of the Government’s managed quarantine facilities.
The plans came into effect nearly a year after the pandemic first took hold. Some critics have accused the government of moving too slowly on restrictions travel in and out of the country.