The UK’s vaccination programme is breaking the link between COVID-19 cases and deaths, according to new research.

The study, commissioned by the government and run by Imperial College London (UCL), has found that the infection rate has fallen by two-thirds since February, before beginning to level off.

The findings were based on swabs taken from 140,000 people who were randomly selected across England.

The UCL team have also said they believe that Britain is set to pass the threshold for herd immunity on Monday, April 12, the same day that lockdown lifts.

Figures suggest that by Monday, 73.4 per cent of the population will have protection against COVID-19.

Meanwhile, concerns in recent weeks over the AstraZeneca vaccine have been addressed by the Medicines and Healthcare Regulatory Agency (MHRA).

Up to and including 31 March 2021, the official body had received 79 reports of blood clotting cases in the UK out of 20.2m doses of the vaccine.

An investigation followed and the MHRA said that the risk of these blood clots will impact approximately four people in a million who receive the vaccine.

These findings have led to no age restrictions being placed on the COVID-19 vaccine and guidance for healthcare professionals on how to minimise risks has been issued.

Dr June Raine, MHRA Chief Executive, said: “No effective medicine or vaccine is without risk. We continually monitor safety during widespread use of any vaccine. This is to ensure vaccines are performing as expected, to identify any new side effects that may arise, and to ensure the benefits continue to outweigh the risks.

“The public’s safety is always at the forefront of our minds and we take every report of a suspected side effect very seriously indeed.

“It is still vitally important that people come forward for their vaccination when invited to do so.”

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