Health bosses have told people over 80 not to panic if they have not been contacted about the coronavirus vaccine – as it is revealed that most of them will not get a jab until the New Year as mass immunisation begins.
Vaccinations will be administered at dozens of hospital hubs from Tuesday – on what has been dubbed ‘V-Day’ by Matt Hancock – with people aged 80 and over, care home staff and NHS workers at higher risk at the front of the queue.
Chris Hopson, chief executive of NHS Providers, said people need to ‘hang fire’ and be assured that they have not been forgotten about, despite not receiving a letter or a phone call about the vaccine.
He told the PA news agency: ‘I don’t think people should expect anything over the next few days because the reality is, as I said, that for the vast, vast, vast majority of people this will be done in January, February, March.
‘And the one thing that we don’t want people to get anxious about or concerned about is ‘Where’s my letter?’ in December.’ He added: ‘People really shouldn’t worry if they’re over 80 and they haven’t had a letter.
‘I’m sure there will be communications over the next few weeks that will tell people how quickly we are getting through the over-80s, and there will be plenty of communications to say, at the right point, if you haven’t had a letter then you should talk to your GP, but we are many weeks away from that.
Health bosses have told people over 80 not to panic if they have not been contacted about the coronavirus vaccine – as it is revealed that most of them will not get a jab until the New Year
A graphic shows where the 50 NHS hubs, special jab centres and GP clinics offering the vaccine next week are located
A graphic demonstrates the order of priority in which the vaccine will be rolled out, starting with residents in care homes
A pharmacy technician from Croydon Health Services (left) takes delivery at Croydon University Hospital in Croydon of the first batch of Covid-19 vaccinations to be delivered to the area
‘So as I said 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. There are 800,000 doses in the first tranche, meaning that 400,000 people will be vaccinated initially.
Photographs show masked pharmacy technicians at Croydon University Hospital in Croydon taking delivery of the first shipment of the Pfizer jab, which has been shown to be 95 per cent effective at blocking infection, over the weekend.
They had to overcome a complex and difficult logistical challenge when receiving the vaccine, which needs to be stored at –70C before being thawed out and can only be moved four times before being used.
Its distribution is being undertaken by Public Health England and the NHS in England, Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland through systems specially adapted from those used for the national immunisation programmes. NHS England said staff were working through the weekend to prepare for the launch.
There are 50 hubs in the first wave of the vaccination programme in England, with more hospitals starting to vaccinate over the coming weeks and months as the programme ramps up.
They had to overcome a complex and difficult logistical challenge when receiving the vaccine, which needs to be stored at –70C before being thawed out and can only be moved four times before being used
A further 231 coronavirus deaths have been recorded today with 17,272 new daily cases – a sharp increase on last Sunday’s 12,155 new cases (pictured: training in the Covid-19 Vaccination Clinic at the University Hospital in Coventry)
Official figures released today also revealed a further 231 people have died after testing positive for Covid-19 – a 7.4 per cent rise on the 215 deaths reported last Sunday
It is not known when exactly all 50 hubs will receive vaccine doses, as they are starting to administer the jab at different times, but deliveries are expected to happen throughout the week.
NHS Providers deputy chief executive Saffron Cordery said that many hospital hubs have received their allocation of the 800,000 and she expects there to be up to four million doses in the country by the end of December.
It comes as the head of the UK’s drug regulator said there ‘should be no doubt’ about the safety of the Covid-19 jab after Britain became the first country to authorise the jab for emergency use.
Dr June Raine, chief executive of the Medicines and Healthcare products Regulatory Agency (MHRA) said there should be ‘real confidence’ in the rigour of their approval amid fears that the UK failed to scrutinise data from manufacturers so it could become the first country in the world to rubber-stamp its use.
The MHRA strongly disputes any claims that it has cut corners, saying its decision went through a series of panels before being approved. Asked on the BBC’s Andrew Marr Show about how important the public health message is to make sure that people actually take the vaccine, Dr Raine said: ‘It’s vitally important.
‘There’s really not one of us who hasn’t been affected by this pandemic, and our organisation, like every other, has been completely focused on doing our job to be able to help defeat this terrible disease.’
The Government said a further 231 people had died within 28 days of testing positive for Covid-19 as of Sunday, bringing the UK total to 61,245.
LIST OF THE 50 HOSPITAL HUBS IN THE FIRST WAVE OF COVID-19 VACCINE PROGRAMME
- Mid and South Essex NHS Foundation Trust
- Milton Keynes University Hospital NHS Foundation Trust
- East Suffolk And North Essex NHS Foundation Trust
- North West Anglia NHS Foundation Trust
- James Paget University Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust
- Norfolk And Norwich University Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust
- Cambridge University Hospital NHS Foundation Trust
- East and North Hertfordshire NHS Trust
- Royal Free London NHS Foundation Trust
- Guy’s and St Thomas’ NHS Foundation Trust
- Croydon Health Services NHS Trust
- St George’s University Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust
- King’s College Hospital NHS Foundation Trust – Denmark Hill
- King’s College Hospital NHS Foundation Trust – Princess Royal University Hospital
- Walsall Healthcare NHS Trust
- Chesterfield Royal Hospital NHS Foundation Trust
- Sherwood Forest Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust
- University Hospitals Coventry And Warwickshire NHS Trust
- Royal Stoke Hospital
- Northampton General Hospital NHS Trust
- University Hospitals of Derby and Burton NHS Foundation Trust
- United Lincolnshire Hospitals NHS Trust
- Nottingham University Hospitals NHS Trust
- Shrewsbury And Telford Hospital NHS Trust
- Sheffield Teaching Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust
- North Cumbria Integrated Care NHS Foundation Trust
- Hull University Teaching Hospitals NHS Trust
- The Newcastle Upon Tyne Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust
- Leeds Teaching Hospitals NHS Trust
- South Tees NHS Trust
- Wirral University Teaching Hospital
- Liverpool University Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust
- Countess of Chester Hospital NHS Foundation Trust
- Salford Royal NHS Foundation Trust
- Stockport NHS Foundation Trust
- Blackpool Teaching Hospital
- Lancashire Teaching Hospital Trust
- Frimley Health NHS Foundation Trust – Wexham Park Hospital
- Oxford University Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust
- East Kent Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust – William Harvey Hospital
- Brighton And Sussex University Hospitals NHS Trust – Royal Sussex County Hospital
- Portsmouth University Hospitals Trust
- Royal Surrey NHS Foundation Trust
- Yeovil District Hospital NHS Foundation Trust
- Dorset County Hospital NHS Foundation Trust
- Royal Cornwall Hospitals NHS Trust
- University Hospitals Plymouth NHS Trust
- Great Western Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust
- Gloucestershire Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust
- North Bristol NHS Trust