Over one million doses of a coronavirus vaccine have been administered in south west London boroughs, NHS authorities in the region announced today (Friday, July 14).

The latest encouraging data confirms that the NHS has administered 1,011,913 doses in Merton, Wandsworth, Croydon, Sutton, Kingston and Richmond so far, with 330,461 being vital second doses that provide more complete protection against the virus.

The remarkable milestone was reached just 22 weeks after the south west London vaccination programme launched at Croydon University Hospital.

That's the equivalent of around 6,500 vaccine shots every day across the region.

"Delivering one million vaccinations marks another incredible milestone in south west London as we carry on with our drive to protect the most vulnerable people," Dr Nicola Jones, local GP and lead GP for the Covid-19 vaccination programme in South West London, said.

"It is down to the sheer hard work and dedication of NHS staff, volunteers and venues to ensure that residents get this life-saving vaccine and we’re pleased that local authorities, businesses, residents and the voluntary sector continue to support us.

"We can all be rightly proud of what has been achieved so far but there will be no let-up in our efforts over the coming weeks and months because this jab offers us all a route back towards normality, so when you’re invited for your vaccination, please do book a slot – it is simple, effective and will protect you, your loved ones and your community," she added.

The figures contributed to equally impressive vaccination roll-out efforts thanks to the NHS across England, where over 30 million first doses and 16 million second doses have now been received by people eligible for a jab.

They also chimed with encouraging news about the impact of social restrictions that experts say have driven down new case numbers across the region and the country, and in turn led to the current possibility of lockdown measures being lifted.

India variant concerns persist with more cases reported

However, concerns about new and highly transmissible variants of the Covid-19 virus, such as the so-called 'India' variant, named B.1.617 persist.

On Friday, Public Health England head Professor Chris Whitty said that experts expected the India variant would “come to dominate in the UK”, the way previous variants have done.

He warned that if the variant proves to be a lot more transmissible than other variants, the UK could see "a really significant surge" in Covid-19 cases, adding:

"That’s a really critical question to which we do not yet have the answer.

"We need to look very carefully at this new variant to see how much faster it’s growing than the old variant and look at this issue of vaccines in practice."

Currently, people aged over 38, frontline health and social care staff and others most at risk from Covid-19 can arrange a jab through the national booking service here.

Those who cannot use the NHS website, can phone 119 free of charge. The line is open from 7am to 11pm, 7 days a week. People can also use a local GP-led vaccination site or some pharmacies.