UK Prime Minister Boris Johnson has said that the UK has ‘enough’ Coronavirus vaccines to offer a first dose to 15 million of the most vulnerable people by his 15 February.
Speaking at a Downing Street Press Conference on Thursday evening, Mr Johnson said that almost one and a half million people have received their first dose already in the UK.
The Government is aiming to have hundreds of thousands of vaccines being delivered each day by the middle of January, with plans for people across the country to eventually have a vaccination available within 10 miles.
There are plans to accelerate the UK’s Coronavirus vaccination programme, with an increasing number of vaccination sites coming on stream. Mr Johnson said that by the end of the week “there will be over 1,000 GP-led sites providing vaccines, 223 hospital sites, seven giant vaccination centres and a first wave of 200 community pharmacies”.
Mr Johnson said that a national booking service will also be launched to help with the mass vaccination of people across the country.
The scaling up of the vaccination programme comes as the pandemic continues to have a deadly impact on the UK and the NHS faces increasing pressure. NHS England chief executive Simon Stevens said at the Downing Street press conference on Thursday that the number of people in hospitals due to Coronavirus is growing rapidly, saying there are 50% more Coronavirus patients in hospital now than at the peak of the first wave of the virus in April.
On Thursday, a further 1,162 people were confirmed to have died in the UK within 28 days of a positive COVID-19 test, while the UK also reported a further 52,618 cases of the virus.