U.K. Speeds Up Vaccinations; All Adults by July 31

LONDON (AP) -
A vial of the Astra Zeneca coronavirus vaccine is seen at a vaccination center in Westfield Stratford City shopping center, amid the outbreak of coronavirus disease (COVID-19), in London, Feb. 18. (Reuters/Henry Nicholls)

The British government said that it aims to give every adult in the country a first dose of coronavirus vaccine by July 31, a month earlier than its previous target.

The goal is for everyone over 50 or with an underlying health condition to get a shot by April 15, rather than the previous target of May 1.

The makers of the two vaccines Britain is using, Pfizer and AstraZeneca, have both experienced supply problems in Europe. But U.K. Health Secretary Matt Hancock said Sunday that “we now think that we have the supplies” to speed up the vaccination campaign.

More than 17.2 million people have been given the first of two doses of vaccine since the U.K. inoculation campaign began on Dec. 8.

The news comes as Prime Minister Boris Johnson meets with senior ministers Sunday to finalize a “road map” out of the national lockdown that is due to be announced on Monday.

Britain has had more than 120,000 coronavirus deaths, the highest toll in Europe.