Britain's target of vaccinating more than 13 million priority candidates against coronavirus by mid-February is "Herculean" but can be achieved, the UK health minister responsible for the program's deployment, Nadhim Zahawi, told Sky News on Wednesday.
UK Prime Minister Boris Johnson said on Tuesday that he hoped the country could vaccinate the four groups it has identified as top priority by the middle of next month, describing the number of people in those groups as “somewhat higher than 13 million.”
Asked if this target is achievable, Zahawi said it is an "Herculean effort."
"It is a stretching target no doubt. Very stretching target," he said adding that he's "confident" that with the plan that the NHS have put together "we will deliver this."
Progress so far: The NHS has administered more than 1.3 million vaccine doses since December 8, Zahawi said, adding that one in four 80-year-olds have already had their first shot. "And in a couple of weeks' time, those 25% of 80-year-olds will be protected, and of course will then get their second jab as well, so it is a Herculean effort," he said.
The minister also said that there will be a "massive acceleration" in the numbers of vaccinated people in the next few days, as the NHS gets more vaccination sites operational.