Just three of the most serious cases of the India Covid-19 variant were double-jabbed, Matt Hancock has revealed.
The Health Secretary revealed fresh figures on the strain – now referred to as the Delta variant – after announcing over-25s would be invited to get their first jabs from tomorrow.
Mr Hancock said the vaccine was “breaking” the “rock-solid link” between case rises and rises in hospitalisations and deaths.
The Delta variant now makes up the vast majority of all cases in the UK, Mr Hancock warned.
But he issued new figures showing just three of those worst-hit by the variant had been double-jabbed.
Mr Hancock said that as of June 3, of the 12,383 cases of the Delta variant, 464 went on to emergency care and 126 were admitted to hospital.
Of those 126 people, 83 were unvaccinated, 28 had received one dose and just three received both doses of vaccine.
“We should all be reassured by this because it shows those vaccinated groups who previously made up the vast majority of hospitalisations are now in the minority,” Mr Hancock said.
He said people aged 25 to 29 will be invited to book their jab as he signalled the start of the final stage of the vaccination programme.
Under-30s are the final cohort on the vaccine priority list.
The NHS hailed the “home straight” of the biggest vaccination programme in its history, which launched just six months ago.
Alongside opening up appointments to younger age groups, the health service is pressing ahead with offering second doses to people at pace.
The so-called race between variants and vaccines has led to a sped-up timetable for offering second jabs.
Instead of waiting 12 weeks for their second dose, people are now being invited back for their second dose after eight weeks.
Meanwhile, ministers continue to deliberate on whether or not to press ahead with easing restrictions on June 21 in England.
Reports suggest the Prime Minister is considering pushing so-called freedom day back by at least two weeks in order to allow more people to be fully vaccinated.
Mr Hancock indicated at the weekend that ministers were “open” to the idea of delay.
While some scientists have advocated for a delay of a few weeks, others have said that delaying would “demoralise” the nation.
Robert Dingwall, professor of sociology at Nottingham Trent University, told LBC: “I think the population will be massively demoralised frankly.
“The data simply don’t support a delay.”
It comes as new figures show that Covid-19 case rates are rising in more local areas of the UK than at any point since early January, with numbers increasing in almost all parts of north-west England, London and Scotland.
The rise in rates has yet to be mirrored by a steady increase in Covid-19 hospital cases, however, with the latest data showing patient numbers have climbed slightly to levels last seen at the end of May.
Nearly three-quarters of local areas of the UK (283 out of 380) recorded a week-on-week rise in Covid-19 case rates for the seven days to June 2.
This is the highest proportion since January 6.
In just under half of these places (134), the rise was small enough to be in single figures.
But a growing number of areas are recording sharp jumps in rates, some of them large enough to push them above the symbolic level of 100 cases per 100,000 people.
When using a seven-day average to flatten out fluctuations in the data, 256 of 380 local areas in the UK are currently recording a rise in rates – the highest number since January 10.
The analysis has been compiled by the PA news agency using Public Health England data published on Sunday on the Government’s coronavirus dashboard.