UK Ramps Up Covid Vaccinations As It Faces "Worst Weeks" Of Pandemic

Grant Boone
January 13, 2021

Mass vaccination centres have opened at key locations in England as part of the roll-out of Covid-19 vaccines across the UK.

His words followed those of England's chief medical officer, Professor Chris Whitty, who said the only way to prevent avoidable deaths is to stay at home wherever possible as the NHS faces the "most unsafe situation" in living memory.

More than 2.2 million people in the United Kingdom have received the first dose of a COVID-19 vaccine, the latest figures show as the government begins daily publications on vaccination uptake.

"So we need to do two things: we need to vaccinate everybody who is vulnerable so that they have the substantial protection from the vaccine, but we also have to get the rates down in the community, so when people go out the chance of them coming into contact with someone with the virus is a lot lower".

The UK COVID-19 vaccines delivery plan sets out how the government will work with the NHS, devolved administrations, local councils and the armed forces to deliver the largest vaccination programme in British history.

The drastic expansion of the vaccination programme means all adults will be offered a vaccine by the autumn, the DHSC say.

The document adds that by the end of January everyone in England will be within 10 miles of a vaccination site.

The Government is aiming to vaccinate nearly 14 million vulnerable people by the middle of February.

Another 46 dead with Covid-19 in Ireland
The number of patients with Covid-19 in intensive care has passed the peak figure reached in the first wave of the pandemic, with 158 people in ICU.

As set out by the Prime Minister last week, the plan also reiterates the commitment to offer the first vaccine dose to all those in the top 4 priority groups recommended by the Joint Committee of Vaccination and Immunisation (JCVI) by 15 February.

The new vaccine centres are being joined later in the week by hundreds more GP-led and hospital services along with the first pharmacy-led pilot sites, taking the total to around 1,200, according to the health service. Sites include football stadiums and a horse racing course, and are located in cities including Bristol, London, Newcastle and Manchester.

Mr Hancock, who is due to visit one of the sites, will set out the vaccines delivery plan at a Downing Street press conference on Monday afternoon.

Britain is facing the worst weeks of the Covid-19 pandemic, its chief medical officer said on Monday, with the health service facing a "dangerous time" as deaths and cases hit record highs before the rollout of a mass vaccination programme.

Labour leader Sir Keir Starmer told BBC One's Andrew Marr Show the current lockdown rules "may not be tough enough".

Whitty urged everyone to follow the lockdown measures now in place.

Coronavirus testing is also due to ramp up across England this week, with asymptomatic people who can not work from home set to be prioritised for quick turnaround tests made available to every local authority as part of the community testing programme.

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