The Health Secretary said 2 million jabs have now been administered (Picture: Getty/Reuters)
The Health Secretary has promised that every adult will be ‘offered’ a coronavirus vaccine by autumn.
Matt Hancock said people over 18 would be ‘offered’ – but did not say ‘given’ – a Covid-19 jab by that deadline, though he did not clarify when exactly he meant after the summer.
But Mr Hancock told the BBC’s Andrew Marr show that the vaccine roll out was now ‘accelerating’ and around 2 million people had been given a jab.
Asked if the government could ‘vaccinate everyone’ by the autumn, he said yes. However, Mr Hancock then clarified: ‘every adult will be offered a vaccine by the autumn, absolutely’.
It comes amid growing uncertainty that the government’s ambitious target of inoculating nearly 14 million vulnerable people by mid-February will be met. The language from ministers has begun subtly changing to ‘offering’ those doses.
As the vaccine rollout gathers pace, more than half a million over-80s are due to receive invites this week to sign up to receive a jab. The first 130,000 invites were due to arrive over the weekend.
There are issues with the UK not currently having enough doses to scale up vaccinations significantly.
The recently-approved Moderna vaccine will not arrive in the UK until the spring, with the AstraZeneca/Oxford jab and Pfizer/BionTech vaccine currently being given to the most at risk groups.
Autumn starts on September 22, in around eight and a half months’ time.
Meanwhile, Labour’s Sir Keir Starmer said delivering on the vaccine programme targets was the best way of reopening schools.
But he said opening classrooms again did not need to be contingent on vaccinating teachers.
Mark Reid from North Shields receives the Pfizer-BioNTech Covid-19 vaccine in Newcastle upon Tyne (Picture: AFP)
Speaking to BBC One’s Andrew Marr Show, he said: ‘We’d have to look at all the criteria but the most important thing is that vaccination programme.
‘It is very difficult to see how we can start lifting restrictions in any meaningful way until the vaccine programme, at least that first part of it is rolled-out successfully.’
He added: ‘At the moment, we do need to focus on those who are most likely to go into hospital and tragically to die.’
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