COVID ID cards will help “unlock” people’s lives and get back to normal, a minister has said.
Foreign Office minister James Cleverly said the rollout of the cards showing whether Brits have had the vaccine or not will enable the UK’s economy to start to open up again.
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50 UK hubs have been delivered with batches of the Pfizer vaccineCredit: AFP
James Cleverly said the ID cards would help “unlock” the economy
The card will be handed to every Brit to get the JabCredit: PA:Press Association
Mr Cleverly was repeatedly pressed on whether the new ID cards were “passports” which would give people the freedom to return to their normal lives.
The Government minister refused to label the cards passports, but when asked whether “it allows you to go into place you wouldn’t otherwise be able to”, Mr Cleverly told Sky News: “Ultimately it’s about unlocking people’s lives and the economy.”
But he stressed the most important thing was getting the vaccine rolled out to as many people as possible, as fast as possible.
“I think everyone would agree, the most important thing is to ensure we can use the vaccination program to protect the most vulnerable, protect our key workers and get back to normal.
“For us the priority is making sure this program will allow us to get back to normality.”
The roll out of the Pfizer vaccine will begin tomorrow, with the elderly and most vulnerable to be given a jab first.
But Mr Cleverly said it will not be the Government’s policy for the ID cards to be seen as a “ticket” to a football match or a restaurants.
And he added: “We will make sure the private sector understand that fully.”
Information on the credit card-sized ID items will include the type of vaccine, its batch number and date it was administered.
A bolded-up message reminds patients to note the date of their crucial follow-up dose.
The details plus the patient’s personal information will then be registered on an NHS database.
Ministers have stressed the vaccine will not be mandatory.
Cabinet Office minister Michael Gove last week slapped down suggestions there would any kind of “immunity passport” to allow people to go back to normal once they have had the coronavirus vaccine.
Vaccine minister Nadhim Zahawi suggested last week passports would be used to let people into private venues.
But today he clarified, telling Spectator TV that “there will not be an immunity passport”.
He said: “We are not looking at immunity passports at all.”
It is likely airlines will not let people who have not been vaccinated on board.
Australian national airlines, Qantas has already said people must have been vaccinated to fly.
The first of 50 UK hubs received the vaccine yesterday as an NHS boss declared it was “the beginning of the end” of coronavirus.
Deputy Chief Medical Officer Jonathan Van-Tam warned last week people will not immediately be allowed to go back to normal once they have been vaccinated.
The majority of the population will need to have had the jab in order for life to be “unlocked” properly, and this could stretch out into the Spring.
The UK is expecting to receive up to four million doses of the Pfizer/BioNTech vaccine by the end of the month, according to health bosses.
June Raine, boss of the Medicines and Healthcare products Regulatory Agency (MHRA), urged everyone to get their jab — proved to be 95 per cent effective — and to ignore wild conspiracy theories.
She said the vaccine will allow the country to finally “turn the corner” — after a devastating year that has seen more than 61,000 Covid-related deaths.
A batch of the vaccine being unloaded at Croydon University Hospital
A pharmacy technician from Croydon Health Services takes delivery of the first batch of COVID-19 vaccinations to be delivered to the areaCredit: PA:Press Association
Staff spent all weekend preparing for tomorrow’s launchCredit: PA:Press Association
The streets were crammed with Christmas shoppers outside Harrods on SundayCredit: 2020 � Elliott Franks
In all the Government has secured 40million doses — enough for 20million people.
It must be stored at -70C before being defrosted. Extra time is then needed to prepare it for injection.
There are also limits on the number of times it can be moved.
Saffron Cordery, deputy chief executive of NHS Providers, said only hospitals currently have the infrastructure to store it.
But she told Sky News’s Sophy Ridge on Sunday that NHS trusts are working with the MHRA to get them distributed more closely to care homes for those residents.
Yesterday, health centres urged Brits not to contact them following a surge of inquiries about when they might be eligible.
South London GP Dr Rosemary Leonard, a regular on BBC Breakfast, tweeted: “Please, don’t call your surgery asking for a Covid vaccine.
Shoppers on London’s Oxford Street braved the cold for the first weekend of shopping since the latest restrictions were liftedCredit: DANIEL JONES IMAGES
Britain’s 350million Covid vaccine doses
THE government has ordered 350million doses of Covid-19 vaccine, with some ready to roll out by December 1.
This includes 40million doses of the promising Pfizer shot, which was revealed to be 90 per cent effect last week.
These are the other vaccines which the government has pre-ordered:
Oxford/AstraZeneca: 100million doses
A weakened virus that causes colds in chimpanzees, it has been shown to generate a strong immune response against Covid-19.
It has been genetically changed so that it is impossible for it to grow in humans, making it safe for children, the elderly and people with pre-existing conditions.
Currently in phase-3 trials in the UK, USA, South Africa, Japan, Brazil and Kenya, more than 50,000 test patients have been given the vaccine. Early reviews have shown it to be safe.
A company in Australia has already started making millions of vials in the expectation that trials will be successful.
Novavax: 60million doses
Contains purified piece of the virus that causes Covid-19. When it is administered, the body recognises it as “foreign” and mounts a protective immune response.
It has been shown to generate more antibodies than in patients recovering from severe Covid-19 infections.
Currently in phase-3 clinical trials in the UK and USA.
GSK/Sanofi: 60million doses
Uses the same protein as one of Sanofi’s seasonal flu vaccines coupled with a booster.
In phase-1 clinical trials but early results have been positive.
Valneva: 60million doses
An inactivated whole virus vaccine designed to prompt the body into creating high levels of Covid-19 antibodies.
The government has invested in Valneva’s manufacturing facility in Livingston, Scotland, to create a major UK vaccine factory.
Currently in pre-trial research, with trials due to start in December.
Pfizer/BioNTech: 40million doses
Prevents Covid-19 infection by targeting the virus’s “spike protein”, effectively disabling it before it can cause any damage.
Tested on 40,000 patients, it is currently in phase-3 trials, but the first interim analysis has shown it is 90 per cent effective.
Janssen: 30million doses
Uses a modified common cold virus to act like a Trojan horse that can deploy the Covid-19 virus’s “spike protein” to human cells, causing the body to generate antibodies.
Phase-3 trials among 60,000 patients were recently halted temporarily after an unexplained illness in one volunteer. Trials have since resumed.
= 350million doses in total
“We have not got them in stock yet and don’t know when they are going to arrive. When we do, we will call the most vulnerable patients as soon as we can.”
Her words were echoed by the NHS Kent and Medway Clinical Commissioning Group and a health centre in Bildeston, Suffolk.
They pleaded: “Please be patient. We will promote details when we have them.”
Business Secretary Alok Sharma confirmed more Pfizer doses are due by the end of this month.
The Government has also reserved 100million doses of the University of Oxford and Astra-Zeneca vaccine.
In total, it has secured 357million doses of seven vaccine candidates.
The Armed Forces will be called in to help with the roll-out.
Tens of millions of doses made in Belgium will be flown to the UK by military aircraft to avoid delays at ports caused by Brexit.