BRITAIN is inching closer to its target of 15million jabs which could trigger lockdown easing.
Boris Johnson has confirmed Britain is just half a million vaccines away from the government's target which could help kids get back to school.
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The target is to vaccinate all four of the most vulnerable groups, which is around 15million people by Monday, Feb 15.
The Prime Minister set the ambitious goal during a Downing Street briefing in December, pledging that a successful rollout would offer an exit strategy from lockdown.
Now 14,556,827 people have now received the vaccine leaving just 443,173 Brits in the top four most vulnerable categories left to get the jab.
And it's likely that the target may have already been met as today's official figures don't include the people who have been vaccinated today.
14.5 MILLION JABS
The Prime Minister tweeted the good news this evening as he encouraged anyone over 70 to make sure they receive the jab.
He wrote: “Fantastic that over 14.5 million people have now had the first dose of the vaccine.
“If you are 70 or older and have not had your first jab yet, please contact the NHS online, call 119 or speak to your local GP.”
Boris Johnson previously made it clear vaccinating the 4 most vulnerable groups is key to seeing whether we can ease lockdown.
He told MPs: “Schools are the priority — they remain the priority.
"If we make progress and those conditions continue to be satisfied, then we will be looking simultaneously at the other restrictions we have.
“If we achieve our target of vaccinating everyone in the four most vulnerable groups with their first dose by 15 February — and every passing day sees more progress towards that goal — then those groups will have developed immunity from the virus by about three weeks later, that is by 8 March.
“We hope it will therefore be safe to commence the reopening of schools from Monday 8 March, with other economic and social restrictions being removed thereafter as and when the data permits.”
Earlier today the PM said said he is "optimistic" he will be announcing the lifting of lockdown restrictions when he sets out his "roadmap" on February 22.
The PM said he will prioritise reopening pubs and shops after getting kids back to school.
Speaking during a visit to the Fujifilm Diosynth Biotechnologies plant in Billingham, Teesside, where the new Novavax vaccine will be manufactured, he said: "I'm optimistic, I won't hide it from you.
"I'm optimistic, but we have to be cautious."
He said his first priority remained opening schools in England on March 8 to be followed by non-essential retail and then hospitality venues.
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