Covid vaccines arrive at hubs ready for roll out - but most over-80s told they will not get jab until 2021
The first batch of the UK’s Covid-19 jabs have started to arrive ready for the start of the vaccination programme for the most vulnerable – but most have been told they will not get it until 2021.
Health officials say people over 80 should not be worried if they are not called for the Covid-19 vaccine this month as the vast majority will have to wait until the New Year to receive the jab.
Vaccinations will be administered at dozens of hospital hubs from tomorrow, Tuesday, December 8, – dubbed “V-Day” by Health Secretary Matt Hancock – with people aged 80 and older, care home workers and NHS workers who are at higher risk at the front of the queue.
While it is not known when exactly all 50 hubs will receive doses, as they are starting to administer the jab at different times, deliveries are expected throughout the week.
NHS Providers deputy chief executive Saffron Cordery said many had received their allocation of the initial 800,000 doses, and she expected there would be up to four million doses in the country by the end of December.
Professor Stephen Powis, NHS national medical director, said the distribution of the vaccine would be a “marathon not a sprint”, while Chris Hopson, chief executive of NHS Providers, said people need to “hang fire” and be assured they have not been forgotten if they have not received a letter or a phone call about the jab.
Mr Hopson said for the vast majority of people this will be done in January, February, March.
He added: “People just need to hang fire and wait for a proactive communication.
“If that hasn’t happened, don’t worry, we haven’t forgotten you, and we’ll certainly tell you at the point at which you need to start worrying if you haven’t been contacted, but that will be many, many weeks away.”
The UK has ordered 40 million doses of the Pfizer/BioNTech jab, enough to vaccinate 20 million people, as people need to receive two doses.