politics

New vaccine target to jab over 50s, carers & Brits with underlying conditions by April bringing total to 30m


BRITAIN will today move on to the next phase of its vaccination programme – targeting all over 50s, those who are more vulnerable, and carers, by the end of April.

Boris Johnson officially announced the start of the next phase as Health Secretary Matt Hancock vowed there was “no rest for the wicked” and said letters had already been sent out to millions more people.

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NHS England National Medical Director Stephen Powis alongside a mobile vaccination unit in Greenwich yesterday

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NHS England National Medical Director Stephen Powis alongside a mobile vaccination unit in Greenwich yesterdayCredit: PA:Press Association
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One million over 65s are first on the list, alongside those with underlying health conditions.

The Sun revealed last week that those over 65 would be getting their letters from this week.

The PM tweeted today: “Today we start the next phase of our vaccination programme, with people aged 65-69 and the clinically vulnerable now being offered the jab.

“If you are over 70 and haven’t had your first jab yet, speak to your GP, book a slot online, or call 119.”

And at the same time the second jabs for those who have got their first vaccines will also take place.

There is still a “huge amount to do” to get the nation back to normal, he said earlier.

Mr Hancock told Sky News today: “There is a huge programme under way rolling out to invite the next group of people to be vaccinated and, at the same time, from next month we have the second jabs of all the people who have come since January to make sure they happen on time, because they have to be within a specific 12-week time period.

“So there is still a huge amount of work to do but we have managed to vaccinate those who are most vulnerable.”

Mr Hancock said efforts would be made to reach those who are in the top four priority groups but had yet to be given a jab.

It came after the Government revealed last night it had delivered 15 million first vaccinations to the most at risk across Britain.

90 per cent of all those who had died from Covid were from the top four priority groups – meaning the number of deaths from Covid is likely now to drop significantly.

Mr Hancock said the take up of vaccines has been even higher than the Government predicted.

Among 75 to 79 year olds, the take up has been over 97 per cent.

He said: “So it’s a real success, the team have absolutely blown it out of the park.”

It will put pressure on the PM to ease the lockdown as soon as he’s able to.

It comes as:

  • The PM will give a press conference to the nation tonight hailing the news
  • Matt Hancock said “let’s hope” this will be the last lockdown
  • He admitted that the Government was looking at how to help Brits go on holiday with vaccination certificates – but stressed they WON’T be used to unlock freedoms at home
Matt Hancock said this morning there was no rest for the wicked and it was time to move on to the next cohort

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Matt Hancock said this morning there was no rest for the wicked and it was time to move on to the next cohortCredit: refer to caption.

What underlying health conditions count in the priority list?

The risk groups identified by the JVCI Committee are set out below.
• Chronic respiratory disease, including chronic obstructive
pulmonary disease (COPD), cystic fibrosis and severe asthma
• Chronic heart disease (and vascular disease)
• Chronic kidney disease
• Chronic liver disease
• Chronic neurological disease including epilepsy
• Down’s syndrome
• Severe and profound learning disability
• Diabetes
• Solid organ, bone marrow and stem cell transplant recipients
• People with specific cancers
• Immunosuppression due to disease or treatment
• Asplenia and splenic dysfunction
• Morbid obesity
• Severe mental illness

The PM revealed the landmark had been hit yesterday - with 15m jabs done

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The PM revealed the landmark had been hit yesterday – with 15m jabs doneCredit: Twitter

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LOCKDOWN LIFTING

Meanwhile, the PM is to review the lockdown measures this week and work out a plan for getting the country out of the current restrictions.

Ministers are expected to see data later on this week which shows the latest health picture – and the effect of the vaccine rollout on stopping transmission.

Mr Hancock said today that the number of deaths and the number of patients in hospital with coronavirus would be factors in determining how to lift the lockdown.

But he stressed it would be lifted very slowly despite the success of the rollout – so there was no chance of cases slipping up again.

There are still 23,000 people in hospital with Covid at the latest count, Mr Hancock warned, saying it may still be too early to lift all the rules.

Professor Neil Ferguson said he is “encouraged” by the Government’s “cautious strategy” to date.

The scientist, who advises the Government as part of the New and Emerging Respiratory Virus Threats Advisory Group (Nervtag), said he has also felt “very surprised and encouraged by how quickly case numbers have been coming down in recent weeks”.

He told Good Morning Britain: “All the Government messaging is that they will take it one step at a time.

“The thing we don’t want to repeat is what has happened on previous occasions – namely relaxing too fast.”

The PM is expected to get all kids back into school from March 8, and then lift some rules around outdoor meetings.

The rule of six is set to return outside, too, raising hopes of people being able to meet family and friends outside in time for Easter.

The Health Secretary told BBC Breakfast: “There is a huge amount of speculation in the papers.

“I know people want to know the answer to when the lockdown will end and the Prime Minister will set that out next Monday, on February 22.”

 

He added: “We are taking those decisions this week, so we will be looking at the data; looking at the success of the vaccine rollout and how far that has reached and its impact in terms of protecting people; looking at the number of cases and critically, looking at the number of people who are in hospital and the number of deaths – those two factors are vital.

“Right now, as of today, at the latest count there are still over 23,000 people in hospital with Covid – that’s more than in the April peak, so we’ve still got some way to go but we are looking to set out that road map on Monday.”





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