Vaccinations against Covid-19 are currently being rolled out across the country, with the Pfizer/BioNTech and Oxford/AstraZeneca vaccines already being administered. The Moderna jab is the latest Covid vaccine to receive approval for use in the UK.
As the Government pushes ahead with its aim to vaccinate as many people as possible against Covid-19, it has published its coronavirus Vaccines Delivery Plan.
The announcement coincides with the launch of a new campaign by JPIMedia news titles across England, asking the Government to give community pharmacies who are able to the opportunity to administer Covid vaccines.
Health Secretary Matt Hancock is expected to explain the UK's new vaccination plan during a Downing Street press conference at 5pm this evening (Mon 11 Jan).
What is the Vaccines Delivery Plan?
The Vaccines Delivery Plan lays out the strategies behind the development, manufacturing and deployment of the coronavirus vaccines.
Across the UK, more than 1,000 vaccination sites have already been established, and over two million people have now been vaccinated with either the Pfizer or Oxford vaccines. The UK rollout of the Pfizer vaccine began on 8 December 2020, and the Oxford vaccine was first administered on 4 January 2021.
In total, the UK has ordered 100 million doses of the Oxford vaccine, 30 million of the Pfizer vaccine, and 17 million of the Moderna jab.
The vaccination plan involves at least two million vaccinations per week in England by the end of January, with tens of millions of people to be immunised by the spring at over 2,700 vaccination sites across the UK.
The rapid expansion of the vaccination programme includes 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 Department of Health and Social Care (DHSC) said.
The vaccination rollout also plans for nobody to have to travel more than 10 miles for a vaccine appointment in England, apart from a small number of highly rural areas, where the vaccine will be brought to people via mobile teams. The Government's intention is that every elderly care home resident will have been offered a Covid jab by the end of January.
The expansion of the programme will also mean all in the UK 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 with the delivery of the programme across the different vaccination sites.
Over 200,000 additional members of the public have also expressed 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 are needed, the DHSC said.
The Government is currently focusing on vaccinating four key groups in the UK by the middle of February.
The four groups include care home residents and staff, all those 80 years of age and over and frontline health and social care workers, all those aged 75 and over, and everyone aged 70 and over and the clinically extremely vulnerable.
Seven new large vaccination centres have just opened, located in venues including sports stadiums and exhibition centres. These are:
- Robertson House, Stevenage
- The ExCel Centre, London
- The Centre for Life, Newcastle
- The Etihad Tennis Centre, Manchester
- Epsom Downs Racecourse, Surrey
- Ashton Gate Stadium, Bristol
- Millennium Point, Birmingham
'Providing thousands of vulnerable and at risk individuals that crucial extra protection they need'
The Health Secretary said that the plan sets out the expansion of the vaccination rollout programme, but that people still need to continue to follow coronavirus restrictions.
Mr 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."
Addressing the Government’s coronavirus vaccination plan, Minister for Covid-19 Vaccine Deployment, Nadhim Zahawi, said: "The UK vaccines delivery plan is a culmination of all our hard work so far, and sets some very promising and challenging ambitions for the next few months.
"I have every faith the NHS will rise to the task and meet these ambitions, providing thousands of vulnerable and at risk individuals that crucial extra protection they need."