Health Secretary Matt Hancock told a briefing in Downing Street on Monday that the results of the latest vaccine were “very strong”.
He added: “They could also help explain why the number of Covid patients admitted to intensive care units among people over 80 in the UK has dropped to one figure in recent weeks.”
Also speaking at the press conference, Britain’s deputy chief medical officer – Prof Jonathan Van-Tam – said the data provided a glimpse into how the vaccine program “will hopefully lead us to a very different world in the coming months”.
But he said it was “very important” that the second dose “was still part of immunization against Covid-19 and no less important”.
Prof Van-Tam stressed there is a “significant likelihood” that a second dose of the vaccine will “ripen your immune response, perhaps broaden it and almost certainly make it take longer than it would have been with the first dose alone.”
More than 20 million people in the UK have received their first dose of the vaccine – more than a third of the adult population.
Meanwhile, another 104 deaths in the 28 days after the positive coronavirus have been reported in the UK, and another 5,455 new cases.