politics

Furious MPs & docs urge PM to stop dithering and vaccinate around the clock after over 1,000 Brits die in one day


BRITAIN must stop dithering and vaccinate round the clock to hit the three million jabs a week, furious MPs and medics said last night.

The “roll up your sleeves” warning to PM Boris Johnson came as a further 1,041 people died of Covid.

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Public Health England admitted it is not even delivering vaccines to hospitals on Sundays

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Public Health England admitted it is not even delivering vaccines to hospitals on SundaysCredit: Mercury Press

The UK was the first in the world to authorise a vaccine and 17,500 people have this week joined The Sun’s Jabs Army crusade — but the nation has fallen behind Israel and Bahrain in rolling out the injections.

Despairing docs have been unable to act after their promised doses were repeatedly cancelled in some areas.

And pharmacies say their offer to help has been “ignored”.

Former minister Dr Liam Fox is among ex-GPs who have volunteered to help but been hindered by red tape.

And Public Health England admitted it is not even delivering vaccines to hospitals on Sundays.

Lib Dem health chief Munira Wilson told the Commons yesterday: “We are in a race against time to save lives, save jobs and restore our freedoms.

“Which is why we need a 24/7 programme bringing vaccinations to every high street in the country.”

Yesterday’s daily death toll hit 1,041 with 62,322 more cases — taking the totals to 77,346 and 2,836,801.

Deaths are likely to rise further as people who caught the virus over the festive season fail to recover.

The 'roll up your sleeves' warning to PM Boris Johnson came as a further 1,041 people died of Covid

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The ‘roll up your sleeves’ warning to PM Boris Johnson came as a further 1,041 people died of CovidCredit: HOC/JESSICA TAYLOR

The PM has promised to immunise 13million by mid-February — but just 1.3million have been jabbed so far.

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However, Mr Johnson is today expected to unveil a new, Army-led vaccine distribution plan drawn up by military Top Brass.

Flanked by the Brigadier tasked with overseeing the dramatic shift in the rollout, he will announce the move at a No10 press conference tonight.

Last week, Defence Secretary Ben Wallace said the military already had plans for “up to 250 teams of mobile, medically trained personnel who could go out and administer the vaccine around the country.”

Yesterday, the Association of Independent Multiple Pharmacies said its 11,000 branches could inoculate millions but are not being used.

So far, only those able to vaccinate 1,000 people a week have been enlisted.

Prof Martin Marshall, of the Royal College of GPs, added: “We need to be delivering upwards of two million vaccinations a week. This is a challenging but necessary target.

“Last-minute changes to delivery schedules, as some GPs are reporting, only create confusion among patients and a lot of hard work for practices that need to swiftly adapt their plans, and must be minimised.”

Vulnerable Brits will be able to get the Oxford-AstraZeneca jab from nearly 800 GPs sites from tomorrow.

Vulnerable Brits will be able to get the Oxford Covid jab from nearly 800 GPs sites from tomorrow

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Vulnerable Brits will be able to get the Oxford Covid jab from nearly 800 GPs sites from tomorrowCredit: AP:Associated Press

So far it has only been delivered at hospitals. Another 300,000 doses are arriving tomorrow, taking the total sent out this week to 830,000.

Ministers yesterday unveiled seven new mega vaccination centres — including Epsom racecourse in Surrey and the Etihad tennis centre in Manchester — but were unable to say how many daily jabs they can dish out.

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Retired medics volunteering to help have been hit by paperwork.

Dr Fox fumed: “Why have I been required to complete courses on conflict resolution, equality, diversity and human rights, moving and handling loads and preventing radicalisation in order to give a simple jab?”

TV’s Dr Rosemary Leonard, who works as a GP, said vaccine orders have been repeatedly cancelled.

She tweeted: “My group of practices was initially told we would get our first delivery on December 28. Then January 4. Then January 11.

“Now we are ‘Sixth wave’ and it will be the 13th, 14th or 15th January. We are raring to go, but have no vaccines. Why?”

Labour’s Kevan Jones wrote to the Government demanding answers after doctors in his North Durham constituency saw orders cancelled.

He said a primary care hub was first promised doses on December 16, this was pushed back to January 4 and again to January 7.

 

He told The Sun: “Doctors are getting inundated with calls but cannot deliver it.

“It is yet another example of the Government over-hyping and spinning the numbers.

“It just causes unnecessary anxiety.”

Shadow health minister Justin Madders warned of a postcode lottery in England, adding: “We need all the tools of the state at our disposal to deliver the vaccine.

“There have been problems getting back retired NHS staff, pharmacies are complaining they are not being involved.

“These conversations should have happened months ago.”

Oxford jab maker AstraZeneca had said that 30million doses would be ready by the end of last year.

Why have I been required to complete courses on conflict resolution, equality, diversity and human rights, moving and handling loads and preventing radicalisation in order to give a simple jab?

Dr Liam Fox

Besides the 830,000 delivered this week, sources say 3.5million have been made and put into vials awaiting safety checks.

And 15million more are waiting to be bottled.

There are around Pfizer-BioNTech vaccines in the UK with two million ready to be released in the next week.

Its total pledge is 40million.

Yesterday Leah Stent, 86, was among people getting their second Pfizer dose at a drive-through centre in Hyde, Gtr Manchester.

The PM admitted the programme must be accelerated, and said the “pointless pettifoggery” of red tape blocking ex-GPs had been removed.

A source said it would take some days before the NHS was delivering jabs in “big numbers”.

A Government spokesman said: “This is the largest vaccination programme in NHS history with complex logistical challenges.

“It is being accelerated every day and vaccinations will be taking place at over 1,000 sites by the end of this week.”

Matt Hancock says we will need to see impact of vaccinating priority groups on number of deaths before restrictions are lifted

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