WALES has become the first nation of the UK to give a first dose of COVID-19 vaccine to half its population.

Some 1.59 million people had received a first jab by April 11, according to figures from Public Health Wales.

This is the equivalent of 50.4 per cent of the population.

The other nations are a short way behind, with Scotland up to 48.8 per cent, England on 48.2 per cent and Northern Ireland at 43.6 per cent.

Wales was the first nation of the UK to roll out the Moderna vaccine, with the first batch given last week.

Scotland has also started using the Moderna jab, and England is due to follow later this month.

The availability of the Moderna vaccine means nations can step up the number of first doses offered to the public, while allowing stocks of the other two vaccines – Pfizer and Oxford/AstraZeneca – to be used mostly for second doses.

Wales is also leading the field for second doses, with the equivalent of 16.8% of its total population – or one in six – fully vaccinated against coronavirus.

England is some way behind on 11.3 per cent, followed by Scotland on 10.8% and Northern Ireland on 10.5 per cent.

Nearly two-thirds of the adult population of Wales (62.9 per cent) have received their first dose of vaccine while a fifth (20.9 per cent) have had both.

All figures are based on the latest data from the UK’s health agencies, covering vaccines up to and including April 11.