The vaccination programme has prevented 7.2 million infections, and 27,000 deaths in England, new analysis by Public Health England (PHE) and the University of Cambridge has found.

It is the first time that PHE has estimated how many people have been spared a case of coronavirus and experts said it showed vaccines have “given us a path back towards a normal life”.

It comes as new figures show infections rose by nearly 70 per cent in a week to 22,868 on Monday, although there were just three deaths reported. 

Dr Mary Ramsay, the PHE head of immunisation, said: “These findings remind us once again why getting both doses of your vaccine is the most important thing you can do to stop the spread of this terrible disease.

“As well as preventing the deaths of tens of thousands from Covid-19, for the first time we can now appreciate the huge impact that the vaccines have had on stopping people getting infected, and therefore passing the virus on to others.”

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The figures were calculated by comparing the estimated impact of vaccination on infection and mortality against a worst-case scenario where no vaccines were in place to reduce infections and mortality.

Dr Paul Birrell, from the University of Cambridge and a senior principal modeller at Public Health England, said: “The number of infections and deaths saved by the vaccination programme is not only astoundingly high, but continues to grow exponentially as the vaccination programme continues.

“In practice, this analysis highlights that the vaccination programme has given us a path back towards a normal life that wouldn’t otherwise have been possible. 

“This is why it’s so important that we all get two doses of the vaccine as soon as we can.”