24-hour Covid vaccines will be in London 'within next 10 days' to reach 'achievable' target to jab all by September
ROUND the clock vaccines will be in London "within the next ten days" with ministers on target to jab everyone by September.
Vaccines minister Nadhim Zahawi said this morning 24-hour Covid vaccinations will be piloted in London hospitals by the end of January.
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His projection comes after NHS boss Sir Simon Stevens yesterday said the NHS will start trialling 24-hour Covid vaccines within the next 10 days.
Mr Zahawi told Sky News: "We are going to pilot the 24-hour vaccination, the NHS is going to pilot that in hospitals in London and we will look at how we expand that."
Pressed for when the pilots will start, he said: "By the end of January, absolutely."
It comes after Boris Johnson last week vowed to deliver jabs 24/7 at injection hubs across the nation "as soon as we can".
Mr Zahawi today said 8am-8pm vaccination "works much more conveniently for those who are over 80".
But added: "As you move down the age groups it becomes much more convenient for people to go late at night and in the early hours."
Coronavirus jabs will be offered to millions of over 70s and the clinically extremely vulnerable from this week as the Government expands its mass rollout.
And the Prime Minister has pledged to offer vaccinations to the first four priority groups by the middle of next month, with Dominic Raab saying on Sunday all adults would be offered a first dose by September.
Mr Zahawi this morning backed the targets, saying they were "achievable".
'ALL DAY ALL NIGHT'
Yesterday, NHS boss Sir Simon Stevens told the BBC's Andrew Marr Show jabs would "absolutely" be given "all day, all night" when "we have enough supply that it makes sense."
He added: "We will start testing 24/7 in some hospitals over the course of the next 10 days.
"But we are at the moment vaccinating at the rate of about 140 jabs a minute."
The NHS England head said he was "pretty confident" a million and half vaccinations will have been given this week by Sunday night.
And the projected figures for this week are up from around a million the week before.
Health Secretary Matt Hancock on the weekend that over half of all over-80s had received their first jab.
But Sir Simon warned hospitals in England are admitting a new coronavirus patient every 30 seconds, with a quarter of patients under 55.
He added: "Hospitals are under extreme pressure and staff are under extreme pressure.
“Since Christmas Day we’ve seen another 15,000 increase in the inpatients in hospitals across England.
"That’s the equivalent of filling 30 hospitals full of coronavirus patients."
And he insisted nobody in the NHS is being told to throw away excess vaccines.
He added: "The guidance from the chief medical officer and NHS medical director is crystal clear, that every last drop of vaccine should be used."
Speaking on Sunday, Foreign Secretary Dominic Raab said a phased end to lockdown could be considered from March if 88 per cent of the most vulnerable groups are vaccinated by mid-February.
Mr Raab said: "If we have succeeded in hitting those targets… we can start to think about the phase.
"I think it's fair to say it won't be a big bang.
"It will be done phased, possibly back through the tiered approach that we had before."
Senior Government figures are optimistic that all adults in the UK could receive the jab in time for summer.
A source told The Daily Telegraph: "All over-18s by June – yes."
But on Sunday, Mr Raab played down the reports and said the Government was aiming to give jabs out to all over-18s "by September."
"If we can do it faster then great but that is the road map," he told Sky News' Sophy Ridge.
More Brits have now had at least one coronavirus vaccination than have tested positive for the bug since the start of the pandemic
A total of 3,559,179 people have received their first jab as of Friday – 201,818 more than the total number of Covid cases in the UK.
A total of 324,233 jabs were given yesterday alone – the highest number in a 24-hour period so far.
And over 32million over-50s could be vaccinated by the end of March under new Government plants to ramp up the jab roll-out, it has been reported.
The Government is said to be preparing to more than double the pace of the current programme next week to up to half a million jabs a day.
But because of manufacturing delays with Pfizer and AstraZeneca, ministers are concerned about the target of giving the jab to 14.9million by Feburary 15.
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