HOSPITALS will call in everyone over the age of 80 to get the Covid vaccine from ‘V-Day’ on Tuesday – and four MILLION doses will be delivered to Britain this month, a health chief has announced.
Saffron Cordery, deputy chief executive of NHS Providers, spoke just 48 hours before the first Brits are set to get the Pfizer/BioNTech vaccine.
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Millions of doses of the Pfizer vaccine will be in the UK by the end of the month – as a mass roll-out gets under wayCredit: Press Association
The first batch of 800,000 doses are already arriving at hospitals around the country Credit: London News Pictures
Every Brit over the age of 80 will be invited to have the vaccineCredit: Getty Images – Getty
In an interview that will bring joy to millions of vulnerable people separated from loved ones for months, Ms Cordery this morning said all elderly people will be contacted soon.
Speaking to Sophy Ridge on Sky, she said: “The first batch of 800,000 doses is making its way to the country now.
“We know many of 50 hospital hubs have already received their allocation, and more are expected today.
“We know that consignment is here and we are expecting in the low millions – up to 4m [doses] – by the end of December.
“That consignment and distribution is well on the way now.
“We are in real-time communication with trusts up and down the country and they are telling us they are receiving it.”
Care home residents and staff and people over the age of 80 will be the first to be vaccinated
It comes after months of tough lockdowns for Brits – and more than 60,000 UK deathsCredit: Athena Picture Agency
But with the advent of a vaccine, it’s hoped life may be beginning to return to normal in the springCredit: London News Pictures
A huge operation is under way to ensure that everyone on the priority list gets the first of two injections needed as soon as possible, with hospital trusts getting in touch with those most in need.
Clinics will also be established at hospital sites to get Brits vaccinated as quickly and safely as possible.
There are also plans for residents unable to leave care homes, who have been identified as among the first to get the jab.
“Right now, it can only be administered in hospitals, but trusts up and down the country are working with the Medicines and Healthcare products Regulatory Agency,” she said.
“That is overseeing this process to see if they can get them distributed more closely to care homes.”
People aged 80 and over, care home workers and NHS workers who are at higher risk will be the first to receive the jab.
However, NHS workers have slipped down the priority list.
Ms Cordery said: “Although we have 800,000 doses coming into the country, because we need a double dose to vaccinate people, that’s really only a distribution to 400,000 people.
It comes as Matt Hancock reportedly began calling Tuesday ‘V-Day’ – for ‘vaccination day’Credit: AFP
Medics are now simulating the administration of the Pfizer vaccine to support staff training ahead of the roll-outCredit: Press Association
Millions of Brits are now in Tier 2 or 3 areas after the lockdown in England ended on December 2Credit: PA:Press Association
“What was needed was a way of making sure that those who really needed it most would get it.
“This initial focus on care home residents and staff as well as the over-80s was really a precautionary principle.”
“I’m a freedom-loving Conservative, and I can’t wait for us to get back to living by mutual respect and personal responsibility – not laws set in Parliament,” he said.
“At some point, we’ll be able to set the date when we can get rid of these restrictions – and you couldn’t have said that only two weeks ago.”
However, the UK first faces a huge logistical battle.
The Pfizer/BioNTech vaccine needs to be stored at minus 70C and can only be moved a handful of times before it becomes less effective.
Public Health England said it has secured 58 specialised Twin Guard ultra-low temperature freezers which provide sufficient storage for approximately five million doses.
The fridges, which are not portable, each hold around 86,000 doses.
The first vials of the ‘game-changing’ Pfizer vaccine are being housed in a secret location ahead of roll out beginning in hospitals.
The two-shot jab was given the green light by regulators in the UK on Wednesday – making the UK the first in the world to approve a safe and effective Covid vaccine.
Saffron Cordery’s interview will give hope to millions separated from loved ones