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Why CAN’T England offer Covid vaccinations round the clock?

Britain dished out another 165,000 Covid vaccines yesterday, according to official figures that come amid mounting pressure on No10 to adopt a 24/7 roll-out. 

With the successful roll-out of a jab the Government’s only hope of ever easing the endless cycle of lockdowns, pressure is mounting on Boris Johnson to pull out all the stops to make sure the NHS operation works.

And the inoculation drive — the biggest in British history — has already started to pick up pace, following the approval of Oxford’s game-changing jab. 

Home Secretary Priti Patel today revealed 2.43million people have now had their first dose, up from 2.29m yesterday. Another 20,000 second doses were also added onto the cumulative total, with 2.8million shots administered in total. 

But the daily vaccination figure needs to double if the Prime Minister has any chance of delivering on his pledge to vaccinate all 13.9million Britons in the top four priority groups by February 15.

With just 34 days left to deliver on his lockdown-ending promise, around 11.5million over-70s, NHS workers, care home residents and workers, and adults with underlying conditions still need to be vaccinated — the equivalent of around 340,000 a day.

Pressure is mounting on the Government to dish out coronavirus vaccines 24/7, with Labour saying No10 ‘must deliver for the British people’ because the public ‘have sacrificed so much’. 

Ministers have claimed there was ‘no clamour’ for appointments beyond 8pm. But Nicola Sturgeon today hinted Scotland could adopt a round-the-clock programme, if it would ‘help us get through them faster’.

Meanwhile, Defence Secretary Ben Wallace told the Commons today that military personnel can ‘do more to assist’, as he suggested that the hold-up was due to a lack of stock and problems in the supply chain.

He added: ‘I could deploy all 100,000 soldiers tomorrow ready to vaccinate but if the stock isn’t there then we’ll have people not… we could employ them better off.

‘We are very, very clear that we can do more to assist, the Prime Minister knows that and the Prime Minister has indicated that we will be called on as the NHS requires it.’

Home Secretary Priti Patel today revealed 2.43million people have now had their first dose, up from 2.29m yesterday. Another 20,000 second doses were also added onto the cumulative total

Home Secretary Priti Patel today revealed 2.43million people have now had their first dose, up from 2.29m yesterday. Another 20,000 second doses were also added onto the cumulative total

Home Secretary Priti Patel today revealed 2.43million people have now had their first dose, up from 2.29m yesterday. Another 20,000 second doses were also added onto the cumulative total

Home Secretary Priti Patel today revealed 2.43million people have now had their first dose, up from 2.29m yesterday. Another 20,000 second doses were also added onto the cumulative total 

Nicola Sturgeon once again beat Mr Johnson to the punch by announcing Scotland was drawing up plans to dispense vaccines day and night, but she conceded that supplies were still 'relatively limited'.

Defence Secretary Ben Wallace said the Army can 'do more to assist'

Nicola Sturgeon once again beat Mr Johnson to the punch by announcing Scotland was drawing up plans to dispense vaccines day and night, but she conceded that supplies were still ‘relatively limited’.  Defence Secretary Ben Wallace said the Army can ‘do more to assist’

Members of the public arrive to receive their injection of a Covid-19 vaccine at the NHS vaccine centre that has been set up at the Centre for Life in Times Square, Newcastle

Members of the public arrive to receive their injection of a Covid-19 vaccine at the NHS vaccine centre that has been set up at the Centre for Life in Times Square, Newcastle

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 

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Announcing the new vaccine figures in tonight’s Downing Street press conference, Ms Patel said vaccination centres are following Covid-secure guidelines to ensure they are safe for staff and visitors receiving jabs.

She said: ‘Cubicles are spaced out and we’re working with PHE and following all the guidance in terms of the safety and protective measures that are required for the staff in those centres but also for the individuals coming in for immunisation.’

Dr Vin Diwakar, medical director for the NHS in London, added: ‘We have absolutely rigid standards of infection prevention control in all of these vaccine centres.’

Ms Patel also said the Government is looking at prioritising frontline workers for the coronavirus vaccine once the most vulnerable groups have received the jab.

She added: ‘We are looking at those who are on the front line such as police officers, teachers and others who are naturally at occupational risk of coming in contact with the virus.

‘We are absolutely working to make sure that we can get the vaccine to them but that means working with the JCVI.’

Labour’s deputy leader Angela Rayner today piled more pressure on Downing Street to make the vaccination scheme operate round-the-clock.

She said: ‘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.’ 

The aim is for every Brit 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 2.8million as of yesterday, and there are also calls for frontline workers such as teachers and police officers to be pushed up the priority list.  

Ms Sturgeon was asked about implementing a 24-hour vaccination programme today as she confirmed that by Monday a total of 175,942 had received their first dose of vaccine.

She said: ‘We will look at anything and everything that allows us to get this vaccination programme done as quickly as possible’. 

Ms Sturgeon said supplies of the vaccine were still ‘relatively limited’, and that with the focus currently on getting jabs to care home residents and those aged over 80, these groups did ‘not lend themselves to out-of-hours vaccination’. 

Responding to John Healey, the Defence Secretary told the Commons: ‘We are of course, as he knows, incredibly keen and eager to offer whatever assistance we can.’

Mr Wallace added: ‘And of course, all members of the armed forces personnel are able to help the Government in its resilience and its defence – that is obviously the purpose of their job.’

On vaccinations, he continued: ‘Of course, I could deploy all 100,000 soldiers tomorrow ready to vaccinate but if the stock isn’t there then we’ll have people not… we could employ them better off.

‘So we are very, very keen in the Government, the Prime Minister is determined, to make sure that we match both the pace of stock delivery but also the pace of delivery into people’s arms – the jabbing. 

Desperate shift workers and teachers have come forward to say they would happily come day or night to get the coronavirus vaccine after Boris Johnson insisted there is no 'clamour' for appointments after 8pm

Desperate shift workers and teachers have come forward to say they would happily come day or night to get the coronavirus vaccine after Boris Johnson insisted there is no ‘clamour’ for appointments after 8pm

An aerial drone shows Tennis and Football Centre at the Etihad campus in Manchester, which is being used as a mass Covid vaccination centre

An aerial drone shows Tennis and Football Centre at the Etihad campus in Manchester, which is being used as a mass Covid vaccination centre

Dozens of elderly people queue outside Hornchurch library in the London Borough of Havering for their Covid-19 vaccine

Dozens of elderly people queue outside Hornchurch library in the London Borough of Havering for their Covid-19 vaccine

Minister have promised o dish out 2million jabs a week by the end of January through 2,700 centres dotted across the country. The map shows the sites that are currently up and running, including seven mass centres (green), more than 100 hospitals (blue), as well as GP practices and pharmacies (purple)

Minister have promised o dish out 2million jabs a week by the end of January through 2,700 centres dotted across the country. The map shows the sites that are currently up and running, including seven mass centres (green), more than 100 hospitals (blue), as well as GP practices and pharmacies (purple)

Desperate teachers and shift workers say they would ‘come day or night’ to get vaccine

Desperate shift workers and teachers have come forward to say they would happily come day or night to get the coronavirus vaccine after Boris Johnson insisted there is no ‘clamour’ for appointments after 8pm.  

Mr 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’s claims there is no demand for evening appointments.  

Upset workers took to social media to blast the Prime Minister’s claim.

One wrote: ‘I work shifts. I’m awake when most of the country is asleep. So, happy to have my vaccine anytime.’ 

Another user, a teacher, said: ‘If this would speed things up and I’d not be taking a vaccine from someone more vulnerable I’d happily go anytime of day or night.

‘I’m a 60-year-old teacher working in school and scared for myself and my older vulnerable husband. Of course I’d go!’ 

Another Twitter user said: ‘I’d clamour at anytime of night! As a teacher I’m still in school during the day looking after key worker children so would love a vaccine and after 8pm would be perfect!

‘I’m pretty sure the rest of staff would agree. Sign us up!’

And another wrote: ‘They are doing this in New York and my teacher friends who are the same age as me (35) got their vaccine today. I’m a teacher also and absolutely no sign of a vaccine for me yet. 

‘I would take any vaccine at anytime to get back into the classroom!’ 

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.  

Another Twitter user wrote: ‘I work shifts so 9-5 time isn’t good for me, I would have the vaccine anytime.’ 

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‘And we are very, very clear that we can do more to assist, the Prime Minister knows that and the Prime Minister has indicated that we will be called on as the NHS requires it.’

It came after desperate shift workers and teachers came forward today to say they would happily come day or night to get the coronavirus vaccine. 

Upset workers took to social media to blast the Prime Minister’s claim there was ‘no clamour’ for nighttime jabs.

One wrote: ‘I work shifts. I’m awake when most of the country is asleep. So, happy to have my vaccine anytime.’ 

Another user, a teacher, said: ‘If this would speed things up and I’d not be taking a vaccine from someone more vulnerable I’d happily go anytime of day or night.

‘I’m a 60-year-old teacher working in school and scared for myself and my older vulnerable husband. Of course I’d go!’ 

Another Twitter user said: ‘I’d clamour at anytime of night! As a teacher I’m still in school during the day looking after key worker children so would love a vaccine and after 8pm would be perfect!

‘I’m pretty sure the rest of staff would agree. Sign us up!’

And another wrote: ‘They are doing this in New York and my teacher friends who are the same age as me (35) got their vaccine today. I’m a teacher also and absolutely no sign of a vaccine for me yet. 

‘I would take any vaccine at anytime to get back into the classroom!’ 

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’. 

Another Twitter user wrote: ‘I work shifts so 9-5 time isn’t good for me, I would have the vaccine anytime.’

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.

High St pharmacies won’t start dishing out Covid vaccines until Thursday

Britain’s High Street pharmacies won’t start dishing out coronavirus vaccines until Thursday, it was revealed today amid mounting pressure on Boris Johnson to launch round-the-clock inoculations.

Superdrug and Boots will only have one site ready to dish out vaccines when the roll-out is finally expanded later this week, with dozens more sites on standby to ramp up the lockdown-ending scheme in the coming weeks. 

Both chains — which have yet to receive any coronavirus vaccines — have dozens of stores that already offer the winter flu jab. 

No10 last week said jabs would be deployed from hundreds of independent chemists in a bid to deliver on Boris Johnson’s lofty promise of vaccinating 13million people and ending lockdown by mid-February.  

But amid reports of manufacturing and supply issues, small chains claim to have still not been contacted about getting involved, even though they have begged Downing Street to let them chip in, claiming they have the expertise and local knowledge to be able to dish out ‘millions’ of jabs. 

It comes as ministers last night pledged to offer everyone over 50 a Covid jab the end of April. Health Secretary Matt Hancock said mass vaccination was the only way out of the endless cycle of lockdowns.

The Government is also under growing pressure to launch a 24/7 operation, with the Government now in a ‘race against time’ to get jabs in arms.

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‘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.’

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