The UK has begun its biggest vaccination campaign as it tries to inoculate 13.9 million people in two months, in a bid to link the end of its national lockdown with the immunisation of vulnerable groups.
Government data shows more than 1.5 million people have been vaccinated across the UK since December 8, including nearly a quarter of the most elderly and vulnerable.
Who will get the vaccine first?
The joint committee on vaccination and immunisation says prevention of death and the maintenance of health and social care systems should be priorities.
As the risk of death from Covid-19 increases with age, prioritisation is based primarily on this factor.
The joint committee has set out a list of nine high-priority groups, covering about 30 million people.
What are the nine priority groups?
1. residents in a care home for older adults and their carers
2. those 80 years of age and over and frontline health and social-care workers
3. those 75 years of age and over
4. those 70 years of age and over and clinically extremely vulnerable individuals
5. those 65 years of age and over
6. people aged 16 years to 64 years with underlying health conditions that put them at higher risk of serious disease and death
7. those 60 years of age and over
8. those 55 years of age and over
9. those 50 years of age and over
People aged over 80, frontline staff and care home workers will be given the priority.
People aged over 70 and anyone who is clinically extremely vulnerable will receive the vaccine by mid-February, while the rest of the priority groups will receive it by Easter.
When will the second phase of vaccination begin?
The joint committee believes the key focus for the second phase should be cutting the number of people in hospitals.
The under-50s and those at increased risk of catching Covid-19 because of their work will be given priority in the second phase. They include first responders, the military, those involved in the justice system, teachers, transport workers and public servants essential to the pandemic response
If you are part of this group, you will be invited to book an appointment for vaccination by late spring or early summer. Healthy, young people may have to wait until 2022.
Where will people be vaccinated?
People will be vaccinated at:
- local GP practices
- community pharmacies
- hospital hubs
- mass vaccination sites across the country
Prime minister Boris Johnson said no-one will have to travel more than 10 miles to get the jab, and announced 1,000 GP sites, 200 community pharmacies, 223 hospital hubs and seven mass vaccination sites will be ready to welcome Britons by next week.
How will the UK jab millions of people?
The UK’s ambitious programme is being helped by a change to the times between doses.
But on December 30, the government announced that the two doses would instead be delivered within three months to ensure the first dose to as many people as possible.
This goes against World Health Organisation recommendations, in which the doses should be administered 21 to 28 days apart, and those of the makers, who voice concerns over the schedule, claiming there was “no data” to support its effectiveness.