United Kingdom

COVID-19: 24-hour vaccination sites to be piloted in London before end of January

Twenty-four hour vaccination sites will be piloted in London before the end of January, the vaccines minister has said.

Speaking to Sky News, Nadhim Zahawi said the NHS will be “targeting forensically who we want to protect” to ensure the most vulnerable people can be vaccinated first.

He said that as there is “limited supply” of the vaccine, “it needs to get into the arms of the most vulnerable” such as those who are elderly or clinically extremely vulnerable.

While the current 8am to 8pm vaccination times work better for the over-80s, some areas of the UK have managed to give out first jabs to the majority of this age group.

In Darlington, all care home residents have been vaccinated already, the minister said.

Asked whether it is “achievable” to have all adults given their first dose of the vaccine by September – as was pledged by the foreign secretary on Sunday – Mr Zahawi said it was.

He added that the issue at the moment is there is a limited supply of vaccines but said “millions of doses” are being delivered over the next few months.

The vaccines minister said teachers, police officers and shopworkers should be top of the next phase of the vaccine rollout list, after the four most vulnerable groups.

He said he was confident the NHS can meet the mid-February deadline to get those first groups vaccinated, and added that the government does not plan on extending the 12-week gap between getting the first and second dose of the vaccine.

Speaking about restrictions, he said they could start to be eased “two to three weeks” after that mid-February deadline.

Addressing reports of vaccine doses being wasted, he said it would be a “terrible thing” to waste any vaccine and the government has told the NHS to “use every last drop”.

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