The uptake of the coronavirus vaccine in the UK has been better than expected, British Health Secretary Matt Hancock has said. He expressed “confidence” that the government will meet its deadline for vaccinating vulnerable groups.

The UK vaccination campaign has got an overwhelmingly positive reception – among the country’s elderly at least – Hancock revealed on Tuesday. While the uptake was expected to hover around the 75 percent mark, it has actually reached well past 90 percent.

“Uptake of this jab has been far, far higher than I expected,” Hancock told the BBC. “Amongst 75- to 79-year-olds – people in their late 70s – uptake has been 96 percent, it is absolutely incredible.”

The minister also said he was “confident” the country will meet its vaccination deadline for all people within the prioritized vulnerable groups, such as the elderly and healthcare workers, by Monday. Hancock, however, did not provide any details of vaccine uptake in groups outside of the over 70s.

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NHS staff turning down Covid-19 jab ‘disappointing’, says minister, amid hesitancy among black, Filipino and Bangladeshi workers

While some 13 million coronavirus jabs have been administered across the country already, the government struggled to say how many healthcare and social workers have been vaccinated. Earlier this week, the Royal College of Nursing (RCN) raised concerns over the immunization drive, expressing fears that medical staff not working directly for the National Health Service (NHS) were being left out of the programme entirely.

Moreover, some NHS workers have turned down the jab altogether. The issue has been acknowledged by Environment Secretary George Eustice, who called such situation “obviously disappointing.”

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