Below is a shortened version of the Health and Social Care Secretary's statement on coronavirus (COVID-19): 11 January 2021. For his full statement, please visit: https://www.gov.uk/government/speeches/health-and-social-care-secretarys-statement-on-coronavirus-covid-19-11-january-2021.
So far, across the UK we’ve given 2.6 million doses to 2.3 million people. And we’ve protected more people through vaccinations than all other countries in Europe put together.
Today I’d like to take you through the details of our UK COVID-19 vaccines delivery plan that we’ve just published. It sets out how we will build on this work that’s been done so far, and put in place the biggest vaccination programme in British history.
There are 4 parts to the plan. The first is supply.
For a year now we have been working to develop and buy vaccines for everyone in the UK. Thanks to our investment in Ebola and MERS vaccines several years ago, the Jenner Institute at Oxford University was able to repurpose existing work, and move so fast to develop a successful vaccine.
But our search has been global throughout, so while we’ve backed the scientists who’ve been working on this here at home, we’ve also worked with international partners like Pfizer and BioNTech, to ensure that we were the first country in the world to authorise, and use the Pfizer/BioNTech vaccine.
And of course the Moderna vaccine has now been authorised and is ready to bring on stream.
The supply of the vaccine is currently the rate limiting step. And we will bring forward as much vaccine as becomes available. And we must ensure that we have the vaccine development and manufacturing capabilities in this country for the future too.
The next part of the plan is prioritisation, this has been much discussed.
The plan sets out how we prioritise the vaccine so that we can protect those at greatest clinical risk. And one simple statistic explains why this is important. The top 4 priority groups account for 88% of the deaths from COVID.
This stark fact explains why we must prioritise according to clinical need – to save lives – and because that is the fastest route to safely lifting restrictions.
We are on track to deliver on our pledge to offer a first vaccine to everyone in the top 4 cohorts by the 15th of February.
I want to give you an update on progress. Two-fifths of over 80s have now received their first dose. Care home residents are of course in the very top priority group. In the last few days, since the Oxford vaccine was approved for use in primary care on Thursday morning, we have significantly accelerated the care home vaccination rollout. Almost a quarter of older care home residents have now received their first dose of the vaccine. We are committed to reaching every care home resident this month.
The plan sets out how we will continue through the clinically prioritised groups, and beyond. So all adults can be offered a vaccine by the autumn.
The third part of the plan is expanding where you can be vaccinated.
As of Friday, 96% of the population in England lived within 10 miles of a vaccination site and we’re expanding the number of vaccination sites further, right across the whole of the UK, with the devolved NHS responsible for delivery in each of the 3 devolved nations, Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland.
This expansion will include community pharmacy and roving vaccination centres, on top of the hospitals, GP practices, and the 7 mass vaccination centres, that we have opened, including the one I visited today at Epsom.
This huge expansion means that by the end of January everyone will live within 10 miles of a vaccination centre, either fixed or roving in England. And this will help us make sure that everyone can get access to the vaccine that’s so important.
The final part of this plan is about the people who will make it happen.
Over the past few months, we have recruited and trained an 80,000 strong vaccination workforce. I am incredibly grateful to all who have stepped forward.
UK COVID-19 Vaccines Delivery Plan
How the UK Government was able to build up a supply of vaccines and how it is planning to deploy them. To view, please visit: https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/uk-covid-19-vaccines-delivery-plan.
Local Vaccine Update: 5 January 2021
Vaccination hubs will open at Broomfield Hospital and Southend Hospital this week, in addition to the existing vaccination hub at Basildon Hospital. We will continue to offer vaccinations to people over 80 as well as priority frontline health and care staff.