British Prime Minister Boris Johnson said on Monday that over 4 million doses of COVID-19 vaccines have so far been administered.
Public Health England’s data showed that over 4.06 million people have received the first dose of their vaccine.
Johnson made his comments while touring the facility where the Oxford-AstraZeneca vaccine is being manufactured.
“I understand completely that people want to get back to normal as fast as we possibly can. It does depend on things going well,” he said.
“It depends on the vaccination program going well, it depends on there being no new variants that throw our plans out and we have to mitigate against, and it depends on everybody, all of us, remembering that we're not out of the woods yet.”
He said mid-February – the government’s target to vaccinate the top four priority groups – would be the time “to look at where the virus is, the extent of the infection, and the success that we've had.”
“It's only really then that we can talk about the way ahead and what steps we can take to relax,” Johnson said.
“I'm afraid I've got to warn people it will be gradual, you can't just open up in a great ‘Open, Sesame!’ in a great bang, because I'm afraid the situation is still pretty precarious.”
Monday also marked the day when over-70s and the clinically extremely vulnerable, both part of the top four priority groups, would be offered jabs.
Meanwhile, vaccines minister Nadhim Zahawi told Sky news that 24-hour vaccinations will be piloted in London before the end of the month.
The current 8 a.m. to 8 p.m. vaccination schedule works for the elderly, but as the vaccines become available to younger, working age people, the 24-hour option will allow more people to be vaccinated.
Government data published on Monday showed that there were a further 599 deaths across the UK over the past 24 hours, bringing the pandemic’s total death toll to 89,860. There were also a further 37,535 cases, bringing the total to 3,433,494.