137,000 vaccinated against virus in UK

More than 137,000 people in Britain have received a first dose of the Pfizer-BioNTech Covid vaccine in the week since inoculations began, the government announces.

The Department for Health and Social Care says 137,897 people had received the shot since December 8. Of those, 108,000 were in England, the most populous of the UK’s four nations.

Prime Minister Boris Johnson tells lawmakers he is “very pleased” with the “good start with the roll-out of the vaccination.”

The Pfizer/BioNTech vaccine was the first coronavirus shot to be authorized for use by the UK’s independent medicine regulator. Patients require two doses, 21 days apart.

Britain has ordered 40 million doses — enough to vaccinate 20 million people — with 800,000 in the first batch.

First in line are people aged 80 and above, and frontline health and social care workers.

The vaccination program was this week expanded into doctors’ surgeries in England, and in care homes in Scotland.

The bulk of Britain’s vaccine requirements are expected to be met by a shot developed by AstraZeneca and the University of Oxford, which is awaiting regulatory approval.

Some 100 million doses have been ordered. The government has also ordered seven million of vaccine developed by Moderna.