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The UK has passed the figure of 32 million first vaccinations, equal to the estimated number of people most vulnerable to coronavirus who the government promised to offer a jab by the 15 April deadline.

It came as second doses of the Covid-19 vaccines hit a daily record of 450,136, bringing the total with two jabs to 6,991,310 – more than 10 per cent of the UK population.

It was not immediately clear whether the 32m milestone was being claimed as representing the target being reached.

But vaccines minister Nadhim Zahawi retweeted a social media post describing the figure as a “landmark”, in a clear indication that he regards it as a mark of the success of the programme.

The estimate of 32m was given by ministers for the priority groups 1-9 recommended by the Joint Committee on Vaccination and Immunisation as most at risk of serious illness or death.

Made up of the over-50s, health and care workers and people with certain underlying conditions, they represent around 99 per cent of preventable mortality from Covid-19.

A daily total of 106,878 new first doses were reported, bringing the number to have received at least one inoculation jab to 32,010,244 – 47.9 per cent of the UK population.

However it is likely that some of these will be outside the priority groups 1-9, for instance volunteers at vaccine stations who have been offered spare doses left over at the end of the day.

The lack of official fanfare at the milestone figure being passed may reflect orders to ministers not to make announcements during the period of mourning for the Duke of Edinburgh, who died on Friday.

Official figures recorded 40 deaths reported within 28 days of a positive test, bringing the total since the start of the pandemic to 127,080. Fatalities for the last seven days stood at 254, unchanged from the previous week.

Some 2,589 positive tests were reported, with the seven-day total of 18,970 almost a third (32 per cent) down on the week before.

Following a dip in vaccine supplies, NHS England has temporarily ceased first appointments for healthy people under the age of 50, while the programme focuses on delivering second doses to those who had their first jab between December and March.

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