Covid vaccine: Will the Government provide vaccines 24/7?

Matt Hancock outlines details of UK vaccine delivery plan

Covid vaccination started in the UK before anywhere else in the western world, as the country was the first to approve the Pfizer jab. But the country now lags behind several others, having vaccinated just more than two million people since December. Ministers now have three available jabs, but some time to go until they cover a significant enough portion of the public to slow down the virus.

Will the Government bring in 24/7 vaccination?

The Government has followed its strict vaccination programme since December, starting with the elderly and health workers.

Ministers said they hoped to have the first cohort of people vaccinated by early 2021.

But they could streamline the process if they chose, according to the Prime Minister’s official spokeswoman.

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Allegra Stratton said health workers schedule most appointments according to people’s timetables until around 8pm.

She told journalists the NHS “could well consider” scheduling appointments later into the night, but there was currently no demand.

Ms Stratton said: “If you go and have a chat with the NHS, they will say that when they are asking the people who are being offered vaccinations, they’re asking them when it would suit them, what time.

“If people come back and say they would like an appointment over 8pm then that is something they will consider.”

“My understanding is at the moment there’s not a clamour for appointments late into the night or early in the morning.

“If it was the case, then it is something the NHS could well consider.

“They are doing their absolute utmost to get the jab into people’s arms as quickly as possible.”

Ms Stratton raised questions of demand, while ministers have cited supply in the bid to move to 24/7 service.

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During Monday’s press conference from Downing Street Health Secretary Matt Hancock said giving vaccines 24 hours a day could be something to consider.

Answering a question on 24-hour vaccinations Mr Hancock said if people wanted it, he could consider it.

He added 24-hour vaccinations may work for those on night shifts.

Vaccines minister Nadhim Zahawi admitted the NHS doesn’t have the capacity to fulfil such a policy in a radio interview this morning.

When asked why vaccination centres are not opening at night, Mr Zawahi said health workers had spent up to 11 or 12-hour shifts administering the jab.

But he added there weren’t enough vaccines to accomplish the current proposal.

He said the current 8am to 8pm plan was also most convenient for the older people receiving the jab.

Mr Zahawi told Radio 4: “We are limited by the amount of vaccine that is coming through the system.”

When pressed further, Mr Zahawi said the Government could “absolutely” do 24/7 vaccines.

But not until it has the right capacity to do so.

He added: “If we need to go to 24-hour work, we will absolutely go to 24 hours a day to make sure we vaccinate as quickly as we can.”

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