Vaccine breakthrough: Millions of over-70s to be contacted about Covid jab from TOMORROW

Matt Hancock on vaccinating the ‘clinically vulnerable’ first

Those who are clinically extremely vulnerable to the disease will also be able to get inoculated as the NHS begins the next phase of the vaccine rollout. Boris Johnson hailed the announcement as a “significant milestone” in the country’s battle against coronavirus. The Prime Minister said that a staggering 140 jabs are now being administered every minute and that figure is set to surge with the opening of 10 new vaccination hubs today.

“Today is a significant milestone in our vaccination programme as we open it up to millions more people who are most at risk from Covid 19,” he said.

“We are now delivering the vaccine at a rate of 140 jabs a minute and I want to thank everyone involved in this national effort.

“We have a long way to go and there will doubtless be challenges ahead – but by working together we are making huge progress in our fight against this virus.”

The NHS has so far been working to vaccinate care home residents and staff, the over-80s and frontline staff.

As of yesterday more than half of all over-80s have already been vaccinated with the overall number of doses administered reaching 3.9 million people.

The programme is going so well it has raised hopes in Whitehall that every adult could be offered the jab by July.

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Some 298,087 jabs were given in the UK yesterday (Sun) – a slight dip as it was Sunday – but the daily figure could reach almost 400,000 today (Mon) as the new hubs come on stream.

The centres in Dorset, Somerset, Lancashire, Berkshire, Norfolk, Essex, Lincolnshire, Merseyside, York and north London, will each be able to administer “thousands” of vaccines every day, NHS England said.

They will join the existing seven hubs which were opened earlier this month.

In addition to the mass vaccination hubs, there are around 1,000 GP-led surgeries and more than 250 hospitals providing jabs.

Matt Hancock said the plan was still to vaccinate 15 million people by mid-February – 88 per cent of those most at risk of dying from the virus – followed by another 17 million in the spring, covering 99 per cent of those most at risk.

The Health Secretary said: “Now that more than half of all over-80s have had their jab, we can begin vaccinating the next most vulnerable groups. Where an area has already reached the vast majority of groups 1-2, they can now start opening up the programme to groups 3-4.

“We are working day and night to make sure everyone who is 70 and over, our health and social care workers and the clinically extremely vulnerable are offered the vaccine by the middle of February and our NHS heroes are making huge strides in making this happen.

“This measure does not mean our focus on getting care homes, healthcare staff and those aged 80 and over vaccinated is wavering – it will remain our utmost priority over the coming weeks to reach the rest of these groups.”

Today’s announcement comes as figures show that the rate of coronavirus infections continue to slow.

The latest data shows that 671 Covid related deaths were recorded on Sunday and hospital admissions are rising.

EU express ‘concern’ over delays of Pfizer coronavirus vaccine

We probably will need to make seasonal vaccine variants because there may well be mutations in the virus


As the vaccination programme ramps up NHS England’s chief executive said people in are being vaccinated four times faster than new cases of the virus are being detected.

Sir Simon Stevens said some hospitals would open for vaccinations 24 hours a day, seven days a week on a trial basis in the next 10 days.

Foreign Secretary Dominic Raab told the BBC that the UK was making “good progress” in ensuring every adult was offered a vaccine by September and “if it can be done more swiftly, that’s a bonus”.

The UK’s virus-fighting power was dealt another boost yesterday after the boss of a new state-of-the-art vaccine production factory said it was on standby to tackle any future variants and produce jabs at breakneck speed.

And in a triple lift for vaccination efforts the French drugs firm Valneva signalled it is just “days away” from kick-starting manufacture of its jab on British soil – with the UK set to receive 60million doses.

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The £158 million super-factory will open in Oxfordshire later this year with the capability of producing 70million doses of an emergency vaccine.

Dr Matthew Duchars, chief executive of the Vaccines Manufacturing Innovation Centre (VMIC), said: “We’ll be able to make 70 million doses within a four to five month period, enough for everyone in the country, when we open late this year.

“New Covid variants are absolutely part of the thinking. We probably will need to make seasonal vaccine variants because there may well be mutations in the virus, as well as vaccines for other diseases. You never know what’s coming next.”

The centre is already helping to manufacture the Oxford vaccine by lending expertise and giant bioreactors to the AstraZeneca team and its partners.

Meanwhile, French drugmaker Valneva hopes its Covid-19 vaccine can start to be used in Britain between July and September.

Valneva has agreed to provide the UK with 60 million doses of its vaccine. It is expected to need a two-dose regimen.

EU express ‘concern’ over delays of Pfizer coronavirus vaccine

Despite falling infections Sir Simon Stevens revealed someone in Britain is being admitted to hospital with coronavirus every thirty seconds. 

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