Labour leads calls for 24/7 vaccination operation in the UK


How the Government’s vaccine plan breaks down 

PHASE 1 (FEB 15 TARGET)

CARE HOME RESIDENTS – 300,000

CARE HOME WORKERS – 500,000

AGE 80+ – 3,300,000

HEALTHCARE WORKERS – 2,400,000

SOCIAL CARE WORKERS – 1,400,000

AGE 75-79 – 2,300,000

AGE 70-74 – 3,200,000

CLINICALLY EXTREMELY VULNERABLE (UNDER 70) – 1,200,000

PHASE 2 (SPRING)

65-69 2,900,000

AT-RISK UNDER 65 7,300,000

60-64 1,800,000

55-59 2,400,000

50-54 2,800,000

PHASE 3 (AUTUMN)

REST OF ADULT POPULATION 21,000,000 

Boris Johnson is facing growing pressure to launch round-the-clock vaccinations as ministers ‘race against time’ to get jabs in arms.

Labour has demanded the Government ‘sorts out’ a 24/7 operation despite No10 claiming there is no ‘clamour’ for appointments after 8pm. 

Tory MPs are urging ministers to ‘look carefully’ at whether the hours can be extended while some have said there is ‘no excuse why it shouldn’t be 24/7’.

The PM has promised that around 13million of the most vulnerable Britons will be vaccinated by mid-February.

The aim is for everyone over the age of 50 to be offered a Covid jab by the end of April. 

But doubts have been raised about the target with numbers standing at around 2.7million as of yesterday, and there are also calls for frontline workers such as teachers and police officers to be pushed up the priority list. 

Met Police Commissioner Cressida Dick today said her officers should be ‘properly recognised’ in the prioritisation list for vaccines as she warned her colleagues are ‘not immune to the virus’. 

The latest ambitious timetable means vaccinating 32million Britons – six in ten adults – within 16 weeks. Two million jabs will have to be given every week in the ‘greatest logistical challenge of our time’.

A 47-page masterplan published last night said the nation’s remaining adults – another 21million – would be inoculated by autumn.

This second phase is likely to prioritise teachers, police, shop staff and others whose jobs involve dealing with the public.

The 13million most vulnerable – over-70s, health workers and care residents – are already scheduled to receive their jabs by February 15. Doses will be 12 weeks apart.

The aim is for all over-50s to have the first jab of the two-dose vaccine by May.

More than 80,000 medics and volunteers will operate from 2,700 centres and the taskforce could swell to 300,000. 

People queue outside Hornchurch library in the London Borough of Havering for their Covid-19 vaccination today

Vaccinations in progress at the Millennium Point centre in Birmingham today

Vaccinations in progress at the Millennium Point centre in Birmingham today

Nearly 2.7million vaccine doses have been administered in the UK according to figures released by the government yesterday

Nearly 2.7million vaccine doses have been administered in the UK according to figures released by the government yesterday

Boris Johnson (pictured taking Cabinet today) is under pressure from members of the Sage scientific advisory panel to increase the social distancing gap

Boris Johnson (pictured taking Cabinet today) is under pressure from members of the Sage scientific advisory panel to increase the social distancing gap

People waiting to receive their vaccines doses in Times Square, Newcastle today

People waiting to receive their vaccines doses in Times Square, Newcastle today

The vaccine rollout was continuing in Newcastle today as the government tries to ramp up the numbers protected

The vaccine rollout was continuing in Newcastle today as the government tries to ramp up the numbers protected

But while Health Secretary Matt Hancock said last night that the NHS will would do ‘whatever it takes’, he played down the prospect of a round-the clock operation, saying people will prefer to get jabs in the day.

And in the Commons, vaccines minister Nadhim Zahawi said it will not happen in the first phase, where the four most vulnerable groups are being targeted, because staff would end up ‘standing around waiting’. 

‘If we were to go to a 24-hour regime, it would be much harder to target the vaccine at those four cohorts,’ he said. 

‘Obviously, when we have limited vaccine volume, we do not want staff standing around waiting for people in centres that are open 24 hours. 

‘Also, many of those people are over 80, and we are going into care homes to vaccinate the residents of those homes. 

‘The decision to go from 8am to 8pm was made because we want to ensure that there is an even spread and very close targeting.’  

Former minister Steve Baker, a leader of the lockdown-sceptic CRG group of Tory MPs, told MailOnline the Government must ‘look carefully’ at extending the hours.

‘The sooner the vulnerable are vaccinated, the sooner we can end these destructive cycles of lockdowns and restrictions,’ he said. 

‘So the Government should look closely at all the practical problems of 24/7 operation and press forward with it if it would help meet necessary goals.’ 

Tory MP Henry Smith said the vaccine rollout seemed to be going well so far, adding: ‘There is no excuse why it shouldn’t be 24/7. This is a national emergency and every hour lost is damaging to our economy and our future and our finances and our health. 

‘We cannot lose a moment. I steer away from making international comparisons… but the fact that Israel has been able to vaccinate most of the population – it could be done faster.’ 

Another Tory MP suggested to MailOnline that the Government should soon look at extending opening hours to 6am and 10pm to increase the daily number of jabs.  

But they said ‘supply isn’t coming from the manufacturers in the quantities needed yet’ to move to extended opening hours. 

At a Downing Street briefing last night, Mr Hancock was asked about comments from the Prime Minister’s spokesman that there was not a ‘clamour’ for a 24/7 vaccination model.

He said: ‘We’ll do this if it’s needed, absolutely we will do whatever it takes to get this vaccine rolled out as fast as possible.

‘The thing is that if both the person doing the vaccination and the person being vaccinated would both prefer for that to happen in the middle of the day, rather than the middle of the night, then that’s probably when we should do it.’

He said there would be some groups where a 24/7 model may be the best approach but added: ‘Our attitude on the vaccine rollout is whatever it takes to do this as fast and safely possible.’

NHS England’s Professor Stephen Powis said that working through the day was the ‘most efficient’ use of staff and volunteers. 

Professor Powis added: ‘I’m sure for the vast majority of people they would prefer to have their vaccine during the day.

‘And the best use of our staff and volunteers… working through the day is the most efficient way of delivering the most vaccine.’

Armed police were on duty at Waterloo Station today as the government considers tightening the lockdown rules again

Armed police were on duty at Waterloo Station today as the government considers tightening the lockdown rules again

The concourse was all-but deserted at Waterloo as the public gets used to the draconian restrictions being in place

The concourse was all-but deserted at Waterloo as the public gets used to the draconian restrictions being in place

He said the vaccination strategy was to open as many centres in as many different settings as possible.

‘I think that will give the vast majority of people a range of choice as to where they can most conveniently and most closely get their vaccinations,’ he added.

‘And frankly, that is the best way to maximise the number of vaccines that we are able to give.’

However, Labour’s deputy leader Angela Rayner said: ‘Our wonderful NHS staff are rising to the challenge, as they always do, to deliver the vaccine.

‘The British people have sacrificed so much, now the Government must deliver for the British people. The Prime Minister needs to use this lockdown to develop a round-the-clock vaccine programme, 24-hours a day, 7 days-a-week.

‘If the Government can’t sort out 24/7 vaccinations they need to admit that this is as a result of their own shortcomings, not blame the public and NHS staff.’

Ministers are under growing pressure to add police officers high up on the priority list. 

Ms Dick, Britain’s most senior police officer, has asked the Government to consider the case for inoculating frontline workers earlier than planned.  

Writing in the Times, she said: ‘By necessity, frontline police officers and staff interact with many people every day and are sometimes inevitably in close contact, whether helping injured victims or detaining offenders.

Supermarkets have said they are toughening up their stance on wearing masks. Pictured, New Cross in South East London today

Supermarkets have said they are toughening up their stance on wearing masks. Pictured, New Cross in South East London today

‘I have been asking the government to consider that the unique environments in which frontline colleagues work are properly recognised in the prioritisation process for vaccines.

‘The case for frontline officers so they can continue to keep others, as well as themselves, safe is very strong. I am delighted to hear this is being actively discussed.’

Her views echo with those of John Apter, chairman of the Police Federation of England and Wales, who has said rank and file officers urgently needed the ‘protection they deserve’. 

He has asked for officers to be prioritised after society’s most vulnerable groups and NHS workers have been given the jab.       

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