Twenty-four hour vaccination sites will be piloted in London before the end of January, the vaccines minister has said.
Mr Nadhim Zahawi said the NHS will be “targeting forensically who we want to protect” to ensure the most vulnerable people can be vaccinated first.
He said that as there is “limited supply” of the vaccine, “it needs to get into the arms of the most vulnerable” such as those who are elderly or clinically extremely vulnerable.
Professor Stephen Powis, the NHS national medical director for England, said the 24/7 pilot would be starting “within the next week or two”.
The current 8am to 8pm vaccination times have been working for the over-80s, and some areas of the UK have managed to give out first jabs to the majority of this age group.
In Darlington, all care home residents have been vaccinated already, the minister said.
But as the vaccine is administered to younger age groups, the 24/7 centres will help ensure more people can get their jabs especially when it comes to working age people.
The vaccine programme has so far been concentrating on those aged 80 and over, care home residents and staff, and NHS staff, but from today it will be rolled out to the next two priority groups – those aged over 70 and any adult listed as clinically extremely vulnerable.
The first groups will remain the priority but vaccination sites that have supply and capacity will be allowed to vaccinate those in the next two groups as well.
Prof Powis stated that “we can’t wait until we’ve vaccinated everybody” before moving down priority groups.
He added: “So this is the time to focus the priority on existing groups, but start to move down into the next priority groups.”
Foreign Secretary Dominic Raab pledged on Sunday that all adults will be given their first dose by September, with Mr Zahawi this morning saying it was “achievable”.
He added that the issue at the moment is there is a limited supply of vaccines but said “millions of doses” are being delivered over the next few months.
The vaccines minister said teachers, police officers and shop workers – who he said come into contact with the virus “disproportionately” should be top of the next phase of the vaccine rollout list, after the four most vulnerable groups.
It is not the government that ultimately decides which group goes next, with the Joint Committee on Vaccination and Immunisation, an independent expert advisory group, responsible for giving the go-ahead.
Mr Zahawi said he was confident the NHS can meet the mid-February deadline to get those first groups vaccinated, and added that the government does not plan on extending the 12-week gap between getting the first and second dose of the vaccine.
Speaking about restrictions, he said they could start to be eased “two to three weeks” after that mid-February deadline.
Addressing reports of vaccine doses being wasted, he said it would be a “terrible thing” to waste any vaccine and the government has told the NHS to “use every last drop”.
There has been a slight flattening of numbers of Covid-19 cases in some parts of the UK, but Prof Powis warned that will take time to be reflected in a reduction in hospital admissions and therefore relieving overstretched hospitals.
He added: “But it will take a couple of weeks before that feeds through into relieving pressure in hospitals and of course the vaccine programme won’t work until way into February, so for the moment it’s really critical everyone keeps to those social distancing rules.”
- CCTV footage shows final moment of student-journalist who was killed in a hotel
- Armed robbers kill police officer, eyewitness and injure bullion van driver at James Town
- We’ll stop escorting your cash if you don’t acquire armoured bullion vans – IGP warns banks
- Nkrumah was playful, not a dictator – Former lady-in-waiting to Fathia Nkrumah
- Government to borrow ¢2.9bn in fresh funds between June and August 2021
- Bullion van attack at James Town: IGP directs CID to take over investigation
- GPL: Asante Kotoko beat Inter Allies in five-goal thriller
- Behind the scenes: Stephen Appiah and Laryea Kingston when #EurosOnMGL cameras are off
- Former dance champion, Alex Ofori, dead
- Bankers Association to hold emergency meeting over carting of currencies across country
Driver of GNPC boss loses wife in attack by gunmen in Kumasi
Euros On MGL: Hungary v Portugal betting preview
Ghana, Kenya to facilitate inter-regional trade
Execute prisoners who have been sentenced to death – Deputy A-G designate
Ecobank Ghana pledges support for women in agriculture
13-year-boy kills 2 bandits who kidnapped him
John Boadu petitions CID over alleged involvement in ‘galamsey’
14-year-old storms police station to report father for rape
Strikes work, it is a very strong tool – Ofosu Asamoah
Lawyer for Achimota Rasta students resigns from NDC
Families of 2020 election violence victims in Techiman to get 4-bedroom houses
Leaders, create the right environment for your workers – Newmont Regional Vice President
Livestream: Appointments Committee vets Herbert Krapa, Mark Okraku Mantey and 2 others
Green Ghana Project: Stonebwoy, Dentaa join Royal Senchi to plant trees
Lawyer disputes voices on audio in treason trial