Matt Hancock led a press conference tonight largely to introduce the ‘Vaccine Delivery Plan’ which was published today.
By tonight 2.6 million doses of the vaccine have been given to 2.3 million people. So 1/3rd of a million have had their second dose. The process is now rolling out at a pace. The immediate target is to immunise everyone in the top 4 categories by 15th February.
It was explained that there are 4 parts to the plan:
Part 1 Supply. Laboratories in the UK who had been working on Ebola and MERS vaccines switched to making a vaccine for Covid and we have already administered more jabs than the whole of the rest of Europe. Reading the report it is very clear just how proud they are of building up the supply of vaccine. It is the largest immunisation programme in history. Currently it is still vaccine supply that is limiting progress. They are on target to get 2 million done each week.
Part 2 Prioritisation.
Those of the greatest clinical risk will be immunised first. The top 4 clinical groups account for 88% of deaths. The Government target is to get everyone over the age of 70 and all those living or working in care homes and clinical NHS staff immunised once at least by mid- February. Already almost 25% of those in care homes have had one dose. They are committed to having immunised everyone in care homes by the end of January. It is vital that everyone takes up the vaccine.
Part 3 Expansion of Vaccine centres. At present 96% of the population are within ten miles of a vaccination centre. By the end of January every one will be within 10 miles. In addition to the mass vaccination centres there are a large number of GP surgeries offering vaccination and then community pharmacies are to come on line.
Part 4 Making it happen.
Prof. Powis also appeared at the press briefing, he had been to the Epsom Race course Centre today and was impressed by its calm efficient organisation. He talked about a sprint to get the top four categories done by mid- February, then another sprint to the end of April to do all the over 50s and finally a marathon to cover all the remaining adults.
The vaccine story is the good news, it is much needed, because as I move to covering the pressure the NHS is under you will see we are at a perilous moment. Our hospitals are under significant and sustained pressure.
Nobody is ruling out further tightening of restrictions as people are still pushing boundaries or overtly breaking them. There are suggestions that nursery schools and playgrounds should be closed. I think most will agree there has been too much relaxation of social distancing in supermarkets. Most of the one-way systems have been removed and could return. I was glad to hear Morrisons are going to stop people without masks from entering their stores. When asked directly Matt Hancock said he could rule out any changes to support bubbles. Many were concerned that those rules could be changed. Nurseries and Garden Centres could also be targeted for closure.
All Key workers who cannot work from home are to be supplied with 2 lateral flow tests per week. Local authorities will largely care for their key staff. Sun Screen Diagnostics of Derby are set to provide a million tests a week. The results can be available in about 30 minutes.
In Germany there are accusations that the German government has broken EU rules by unilaterally purchasing an extra 30 million doses of vaccine independently whilst negotiations with Brussels are continuing for Europe wide purchases. This might be a hidden benefit of Brexit for the UK.
A Downing Street spokesman was asked about whether or not a single person could rest a while on a park bench. He felt unable to answer it and asked to take it back for a detailed answer. I have still to hear the answer.
The British Medical Association announced today that46,000 doctors and nurses have now contracted the Covid virus.
Gavin Williamson is to provide a further half million laptops for those without one for children who are home schooling.
Tonight’s statistics were late again. 619,941 tests were done on 7 January. 46,169 tested positive. The positive rate shows a 5.5 percent rise. Monday’s figure are often low because of the weekend effect. Sadly, I fear tomorrow’s figures will rise again.
Deaths number 529, at a rate of 7.1 per 100k , a 50% rise in the 7 day rolling average.
32,294 people were in hospital on 7 January with 4,193 admitted yesterday, a rise of 34% on the 7- day rolling average. 3,098 were on a ventilator on 8th January.
To quote the prime Minister, the NHS is in a perilous state but the vaccine cavalry is around the corner. We can get there safely but we must all follow the rules all the time. Look at the amount of time you are out of your home. Can you reduce it any way, or help your household do the same? We can have tighter rules, do you want them? Do Not go out to socialise, only go out for real exercise, then only once a day or perhaps reduce it to 2-3 times a week.
Just stay at home and Stay Safe.