Frontline NHS and social care workers, over-50s and Brits with heart or kidney disease will get Covid-19 vaccine first when it becomes available, Matt Hancock reveals
Frontline health workers, over-50s and Britons with heart or kidney disease will be the first to get a Covid-19 vaccine, Matt Hancock revealed today.
The Health Secretary made the announcement in tonight’s Downing Street press conference, saying ministers would be ‘guided by the science’.
And he claimed the priority list was not set in stone, claiming as evidence becomes clearer other at-risk groups could be included.
Imperial College London researchers began human trials of an experimental Covid-19 vaccine this week, the second to be tested in Britain after a separate jab made by scientists at Oxford University.
Mr Hancock said: ‘Just as we did for testing, we’ll be guided by the clinical science prioritising those in most need.’
The Health Secretary made the announcement in tonight’s Downing Street press conference, saying ministers would be ‘guided by the science’
He pointed to advice issued today by government advisory body the Joint Committee on Vaccination and Immunisation (JCVI), who recommended that two groups receive a Covid-19 jab first.
Mr Hancock added: ‘They recommend priority vaccinations for two groups, frontline health and social care workers, and those at increased risk of serious disease or death from coronavirus, including, for example, adults over the age of 50 and those with heart and kidney disease.
‘As we learn more about the virus we’ll continue to take into account which groups may be particularly vulnerable, including, for example, those from ethnic minority backgrounds.’
The JCVI guidance said: ‘Frontline health and social care workers are at increased personal risk of exposure to infection with COVID-19 and of transmitting that infection to susceptible and vulnerable patients in health and social care settings.
‘The committee considered this group to be the highest priority for vaccination. Vaccination of frontline health and social care workers will also help to maintain resilience in the NHS and for health and social care providers.’
It added: ‘There is ongoing work within the UK to refine the identification of persons at risk of serious disease and mortality from COVID-19 infection.
‘As well as age and underlying co-morbid conditions, the committee notes that early signals have been identified of other potential risk factors, including deprivation and ethnicity.
‘As more evidence on at-risk groups emerges, this work will inform the review of the composition, and order of priority, of groups for vaccination.