Plan for the largest vaccination programme in British history announced
I could not be more pleased at the progress of the UK's vaccination delivery plan - and its ambition to deploy at least 2 million vaccinations per week via more than 2,700 vaccine sites across the UK. With over 2.6 million doses of the vaccines already having been delivered (at 10 January) we are seeing the results of many many months of hard work and planning come to fruition.
Vaccines are a foundation of our way out of this pandemic and the best way to protect our people from COVID-19
The UK COVID-19 vaccines delivery plan maps our route back to normality, but it does not mean we can be complacent and it's essential that everybody gives the plan the best chance of success by sticking to the rules over the coming weeks.
As set out by the Prime Minister, Boris Johnson, last week, the plan makes clear its commitment to offer the first vaccine dose to everyone in the top 4 priority groups by 15 February. These groups account for 88% of COVID-19 fatalities, and through vaccinations we will prevent thousands of deaths once immunity develops over 14 days.
Vaccinating these groups account for almost half of the priority groups in Phase one, with all 9 high-risk groups for Phase one of the programme being vaccinated by spring. Phase two will consider the best ways to get protection for the whole UK population, and could, for example, include vaccination of those at high risk of catching COVID-19 or delivering key public services, such a teachers.
The UK has ordered vaccines from seven different suppliers, three of which will manufacture them in the UK, Oxford/AstraZeneca, Valneva and Novavax. Following the April 2020 announcement of a vaccine taskforce, the UK government announced investment of over £240 million in the manufacturing process. Alongside the investment in the UK, up to £548 million has been announced for lower and middle-income countries to gain fair access to vaccines through COVAX.
Local update as at January 10
Stocksbridge, Deepcar & Oughtibridge
Vaccinations are underway for care home residents and staff, and for over-80s registered with local GPs. This is in line with the national prioritisation list established by the Joint Committee on Vaccination and Immunisation (JCVI). Further groups will be vaccinated in coming weeks. The programme is being coordinated through the Upper Don Valley Primary Care Network, which includes Valley Medical Centre, Deepcar Medical Centre, and Oughtibridge Surgery. Vaccinations are being delivered at the Valley Medical Centre site, and patients from all three practices will be contacted by their surgery when it is their turn for an appointment. On Friday I visited Valley Medical Centre in Stockbridge for their first vaccination clinic, and it was great to see so many patients attending with 700 appointments on Friday and Saturday alone.
Ecclesfield, Chapeltown, Grenoside & High Green
Vaccinations are beginning this week for patients registered with surgeries in the Network North Primary Care Network. This includes Chapelgreen Practice, Ecclesfield Group Practice, Foxhill Medical Centre, Grenoside Surgery, and Mill Road Surgery. The national prioritisation list established by the JCVI is being followed, starting with over-80's and care home residents and staff. Some patients have been contacted for appointments last week, and more will be contacted this week as supplies of vaccine are increased.
Penistone, Dodworth & Barnsley
In Barnsley there is only one Primary Care Network that covers all GPs surgeries in the town and surrounding area, so vaccination hubs are being coordinated centrally. NHS Barnsley CCG is currently focussing on delivering vaccinations at four main sites due to the logistics of the refrigeration temperature needed for the Pfizer/BionTech vaccine. One of these sites is Apollo Court in Dodworth, which has already been vaccinating for a number of weeks. Patients from across Barnsley Metropolitan Borough have been booked in for appointments at one of these sites, and more will be contacted in the coming weeks. On Friday I visited Apollo Court and was very impressed at the organisation and community effort that has gone into delivering such a large-scale operation. As more of the AstraZeneca/Oxford University vaccine becomes available, the intention is to include more local GP surgeries in vaccine delivery making it easier for residents in Penistone and surrounding villages.
I have spoken to local NHS leaders and the rollout of the vaccine for care homes in Barnsley began this weekend, with all residents and staff in Buckingham Care Home in Penistone being vaccinated on Saturday. 2000 Barnsley Hospital staff were vaccinated last week and the expectation is that all over-80s in Barnsley will have had their first dose by the end of January.
It is important to let our health providers get on with this huge programme of work so please don't contact GP surgeries directly about vaccinations, and don't turn up to a vaccination clinic without an appointment. Those in priority groups will be notified by the NHS when it is their turn for an appointment.
Your questions answered
Many people have questions about vaccines and the vaccine rollout programme - please do take a look at my vaccine FAQ page which I will keep up-to-date with answers to the questions I'm being asked.
You can see the latest data on the vaccination rollout plan here.