UK can vaccinate 14 million people by mid-February, minister says
Wednesday, 06 January 2021
The UK’s goal to vaccinate some 14 million people against Covid-19 by mid-February is very ambitious but achievable, a British minister said Wednesday.
“It is a stretching target no doubt, but I’m confident that with this plan that the NHS have put together that we will deliver this,” Secretary of State for the vaccination programme Nadhim Zahawi told Sky News.
Zahawi did acknowledge that the goal, which would require more than two million vaccinations per week, would require a “Herculean effort.”
He assured that there would be a strong increase in the number of people vaccinated in the coming days, with the deployment of more than 1,000 vaccination centres.
Over 1.3 million people have already been vaccinated in the UK, with either the Pfizer / BioNTech vaccine or the AstraZeneca / Oxford vaccine, the latter of which it started using on Monday.
The UK government has made vaccination of all people over 70 year olds as well as health workers – nearly 14 million people – a target for a gradual lifting of the lockdown measures that officially came into effect on Wednesday in England.
Prime Minister Boris Johnson must justify these new restrictions before the House of Commons at midday, before a vote by MPs in the evening.
The UK has one of the heaviest death tolls in Europe, with more than 76,000 deaths and nearly 61,000 positive cases on Tuesday. Scotland also entered a similar type of lockdown for at least the whole month of January.