Government publishes plan for the largest vaccination programme in British history

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Tens of millions of people will be immunised by the spring at over 2,700 vaccination sites across the UK, the government has announced today as part of comprehensive plans to rapidly scale up the COVID-19 vaccination programme.

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.

By the end of January, everyone in England will be within 10 miles of a vaccination site or, for a small number of highly rural areas, the vaccine will be brought to them via mobile teams. There will also be capacity to deliver at least two million vaccinations in England per week by the end of January and all residents and staff in over 10,000 care homes across the country will be offered a vaccine by the end of the month.

This will be made possible by the rapid expansion of the programme, including 206 active hospital sites, 50 vaccination centres and around 1,200 local vaccination sites – including primary care networks, community pharmacy sites and mobile teams.

This will mean every at-risk person has easy access to a vaccination centre, regardless of where they live.

The expansion of the programme will also mean all adults will be offered a vaccine by the autumn.

The government and the NHS have also mobilised a workforce of over 80,000 health professionals to help in the delivery of the programme across the different vaccination sites, with over 200,000 additional members of the public expressing their interest in helping with the non-clinical elements of the rollout such as administrative support, logistics, stewards and first aiders.

All offers of support have been recorded and individuals will be contacted when they’re needed.

Health and Social Care Secretary Matt Hancock said: “It’s taken a tremendous amount of hard work and dedication to make such an incredible start to this ambitious deployment programme. Our vaccine deployment plan sets out exactly how we will harness these efforts to expand the programme quickly and safely. Our UK COVID-19 vaccines delivery plan maps our route back to normality, but it does not mean we can be complacent and it is mission critical that everybody abides by the restrictions in the coming weeks. The next few months will present a significant opportunity to turn the tide of battle against COVID – I am looking forward to watching these plans bring more reassurance and hope back to people’s lives after a difficult year.”

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. With these groups accounting for 88% of COVID-19 fatalities, the move will prevent thousands of deaths once their immunity develops in 14 days.

This would account for almost half of the priority groups in phase one, with all 9 high-risk groups for phase one of the programme being vaccinated by spring. Phase 2 will look at the best tactics for achieving protection for the whole UK population, and may include vaccination of those at high risk of catching COVID-19 or delivering key public services. The JCVI will consider all available evidence for phase 2 recommendations of the vaccination programme.

Over 2 million people in the UK have now been vaccinated with the Pfizer/BioNTech and Oxford University/AstraZeneca vaccines since the vaccination programme began.


Industry reaction

Matthew Fell, CBI UK Chief Policy Director: “The launch of the Vaccine Delivery Plan is a crucial step in the fight against coronavirus. Rapid roll-out of this ambitious programme will be crucial for business survival and getting the economy fully operational.

“Firms will be eager to hear more on the detailed plans for the next phase of the roll out – beyond the elderly and other priority groups – and these will need spelling out sooner rather than later.

“Throughout the pandemic, business has stepped up at the service of the nation. It can do so again. The country needs an army of volunteers to deliver the vaccine programme, so where they can, firms should strive to make it easy for staff who wish to help.

“This won’t always be possible, of course, but businesses should be as accommodating as they can. And flexibility will be key when the time comes for staff to receive the vaccine.

“Businesses are committed to protecting their staff and customers. The vaccine roll-out is no exception. Companies want to help the Government in whatever way they can.”

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