UK Vaccine Rollout Reaches Over 70s Priority Group
The UK government announced on Monday that vaccines against COVID-19 are now being rolled out to those aged 70 and over, aiming to reach the whole group by the middle of next month.
“Now that more than half of all over-80s have had their jab, we can begin vaccinating the next most vulnerable groups,” Health and Social Care Secretary Matt Hancock said in a statement.
Vaccines against the CCP (Chinese Communist Party) virus, commonly known as the novel coronavirus, are being rolled out according to priority groups.
Group 1 is care-home residents and staff. Group 2 is people over 80 and frontline health and care staff. Groups 3 and 4 are those aged 70 and over, and clinically extremely vulnerable people.
“Where an area has already reached the vast majority of groups 1 to 2, they can now start opening up the programme to groups 3 to 4,” Hancock said.
“We are working day and night to make sure everyone who is 70 and over, our health and social care workers and the clinically extremely vulnerable are offered the vaccine by the middle of February and our NHS heroes are making huge strides in making this happen.”
Vaccines are being given mainly through GP practices, but large vaccination centres have the advantage of longer opening times, seven days a week, and are more efficient. Other routes are in place to provide flexibility in the system.
The UK is far ahead of nearly all other European countries with its vaccination program.
The UK has vaccinated almost 3.9 million people, according to the latest figures, after becoming the first Western nation to approve a vaccine.
However, that vaccine rollout began just as a new, apparently more transmissible variant of the virus appeared in the UK and pushed up infection rates despite a tiered system of local lockdown measures.
Positive case numbers have been falling since around Jan. 3, according to official statistics, dropping by 22 percent compared to the previous week. However, hospitalisations and deaths due to the pandemic—which lag behind by around three weeks—are still rising, and are at record levels.
According to the latest data, the average daily reported deaths within 28 days of a positive CCP virus test currently stands at 1,118. In the spring peak, that number—an average calculated over seven days—reached 942 at its highest.
The government has pledged that no person should be living further than 10 miles away from a vaccination centre.
According to the government, vaccine supply is currently the limiting factor in the logistics of the rollout.
The logistics arm of the military—normally responsible for maintaining supply chains in fast-changing war zones—has been enlisted to help manage the rollout alongside the NHS.