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.”
The plan is split into four main areas:
- Supply – including the development and manufacturing of vaccines, ensuring their safety and effectiveness;
- Prioritisation – insight into the first two phases of deployment;
- Places – ensuring simple, fair and convenient access to vaccinations for the public, regardless of where they live; and
- People – mobilising the workforce and providing information on vaccinations to local communities.
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 four priority groups recommended by the Joint Committee of Vaccination and Immunisation (JCVI) by 15 February. With these groups accounting for 88 per cent 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 nine high-risk groups for phase one of the programme being vaccinated by spring. Phase two 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 two recommendations of the vaccination programme.
Business Secretary Kwasi Kwarteng said:
“This historic vaccination programme is a truly national effort and shows the whole of the UK coming together to quickly and effectively protect the British public against this terrible virus.
“It’s fantastic to see so many people stepping forward to help out, and I encourage businesses, wherever possible, to allow their staff time and scope to volunteer. This is the greatest logistical challenge of our time and we must all play our part.”
PHE is also today publishing the surveillance strategy for the COVID-19 vaccine programme which sets out how data from surveillance is used to analyse vaccine effectiveness at preventing COVID-19 and severe disease, as well as the impact of the vaccination programme on the population as a whole.
Over two million people in the UK have now been vaccinated with the Pfizer/BioNTech and Oxford University/AstraZeneca vaccines since the vaccination programme began.
Through the Vaccines Taskforce, the UK has secured early access to 367 million doses of seven of the most promising vaccines so far. To date, the government has invested over £230 million into manufacturing a successful vaccine. In the Chancellor’s Spending Review, published on 25 November, it was announced that the government has made more than £6 billion available to develop and procure successful vaccines.
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.”
Interim Chair of the government’s Vaccines Taskforce Clive Dix said:
“We have worked at unprecedented pace and scale to ensure Britain receives vaccines that meet strict safety standards as quickly as possible.
“The UK has led the world in procuring, authorising and deploying vaccines and I am confident that, working closely with manufacturers, we are ready and able to meet the government’s target for vaccinations.”