Boris Johnson: Over 70s to be offered vaccine by February 15th
Britain is in a race against time to get as many people inoculated as quickly as possible with coronavirus rapidly spreading across the country. A mutant variant of Covid-19, which is up to 70 percent more transmissible, has led to cases of the virus spiralling out of control.
Yesterday the Prime Minister told MPs: “After the marathon of last year we are indeed now in a sprint, a race to vaccinate the vulnerable faster than the virus can reach the.
“Every needle in every arm makes a difference.”
Tonight Mr Johnson will say Ministry of Defence chiefs have devised plans for the army to rapidly speed up the distribution of jabs across the country to help immunise as many people as possible.
The Prime Minister has set a target of vaccinating two million Brits a week by the middle of this month.
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He wants all those considered critically vulnerable – over 13 million people – to have been given a jab by February 15.
More than 100 soldiers will be called in to help with the mass vaccination drive next week with almost 1,5000 reserves troops on standby.
Last week Defence Secretary Ben Wallace also said the Army had 250 six-man teams “standing ready” to deliver 100,000 doses a day.
Brigadier Phil Prosser will join the Prime Minister at the televised No10 coronavirus briefing at 5pm tonight when details of the plan will be shared with the nation.
Mr Johnson has already said the Government, NHS and Armed Forces are working “absolutely flat out” to deliver the programme.
So far almost 1.1million people in England have been given the virus antidote and more than 1.3million across the whole of the UK.
However, the pace of inoculation is far behind why is needed if the country is to reach Mr Johnson’s February 15 target for vaccinating the most vulnerable.
After the Oxford/AstraZeneca jab was rolled out at the start of this week, which is easier to transport, it is hoped the number of daily injections will quickly be ramped up.
Next week seven new mass vaccination sites will also be opened to help speed up the immunisation programme.
Sports stadiums and entertainment venues have been commandeered to help the rollout.
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Sites in Stevenage, London, Newcastle, Manchester, Surrey, Bristol and Birmingham have all been announced, with other mass venues expected to be confirmed in the next fortnight.
Vaccine minister Nadhim Zahawi has admitted the target of vaccinating two million a week is “ambitious” but said the NHS would rise to the challenge.
He said: “It is an ambitious plan. The Prime Minister is right to set an ambitious target.
“The NHS has a very clear plan and I am confident that we can meet it.
“You will see from Monday a significant increase from the 1.3 million that we have done from December 8.”
Describing a “Herculean” effort to boost numbers, he said: “We’ve got a fantastic team working, seven days a week, all hours to deliver this.
“No doubt, it is a stretching target.
“But I think it’s one that we should absolutely look to deliver.”
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