United Kingdom pins hope on vaccines to save medical system

Laverne Higgins
January 13, 2021

Seven mass vaccination centres opened in England on Monday 11 January, with queues forming outside the sites early in the morning.

Seven mass coronavirus vaccination sites opened across England Monday as the government raced to dose millions of people while a new strain of the disease runs rampant across the country.

Our UK COVID-19 vaccines delivery plan maps our route back to normality, but it does not mean we can be complacent and it is mission critical that everybody abides by the restrictions in the coming weeks.

Deaths from the virus have now exceeded 81,000 in the United Kingdom with more than 3 million people testing positive, and a new variant of the disease is surging through the population, with one in 20 people in parts of London now infected.

Officials have faced increasing calls for frontline workers outside of the NHS and care work - including teachers, transport workers and first responders - to also be vaccinated.

It's fantastic to see so many people stepping forward to help out, and I encourage businesses, wherever possible, to allow their staff time and scope to volunteer.

NHS England advised that over-80s can ignore the letter if they would prefer to wait to be invited to attend a hospital or GP service for their vaccine, saying that there are now nearly 800 GP-led vaccination services, and these are expected to deliver the majority of the jabs.

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And before the end of January it is hoped that all people in the first priority group for vaccination - residents and staff in over 10,000 care homes across the country - will have been offered a vaccine.

The new centres - including at a football stadium and a tennis club - will be joined later this week by hundreds more GP-led and hospital services along with the first pharmacy-led pilot sites, taking the total to around 1,200, NHS England said.

The UK COVID-19 vaccines delivery plan is the largest vaccination programme in British history and sets to delivery at least 2 million vaccinations per week at over 2,700 vaccination sites across the UK. "A few people (were) quite teary, saying 'I'm really pleased to be here, thank you so much, we're really grateful for the NHS'".

It is now advising that you should use the tool if you have already received a letter inviting you to book your vaccination appointments.

"The next few weeks are going to be the worst weeks of this pandemic in terms of numbers into the NHS (National Health Service)", Chris Whitty, the British government's chief medical adviser said.

"So we need to do two things: we need to vaccinate everybody who is vulnerable so that they have the substantial protection from the vaccine, but we also have to get the rates down in the community, so when people go out the chance of them coming into contact with someone with the virus is a lot lower".

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