Priti Patel promises 1000 vaccination sites by the end of the week and says pharmacies will be able to roll out the vaccine
Home Secretary Priti Patel has spoken about the latest developments in the mass vaccination roll-out programme.
Asked how many vaccines are ready to go during her appearance on Good Morning Britain, Ms Patel told Kate Garraway and Ben Shephard: "My understanding is that, with the AstraZeneca vaccine, there are over half a million doses of the vaccination that are going out right now…That is going up and up and up. I can’t tell you about what is going out tomorrow and the day after because we are getting vaccines that are being certified constantly by the authority that does the certification and then does the distribution.”
She also promised 1000 vaccination sites by the end of this week and seven big vaccination sites, including stadiums, were becoming available next week. She went on to say that the NHS were doing everything in its power to “compress” the amount of time between the vaccines being tested and rolled out.
On enabling pharmacists to roll out the vaccine, as they do with the flu jab, she said: "That is happening already and there is more work that is already taking place within the NHS to increase the number of pharmacies that can actually roll out the vaccine. There is no question about that… all of this is being scaled upwards.”
Speaking about whether it is time to have stronger law enforcement to make sure the public are following the lockdown rules, the home secretary said: “The police have always taken firm and strong action when it comes to enforcement of coronavirus regulations. The police will absolutely continue to be strong on enforcement…It is inevitable that you will see the police out and about if you are out and about, and they may ask you for a justification as to why you are out and about. If you are seen to be breaking the rules, they will issue you with a fixed penalty notice."
On prioritising teachers to get the vaccine, she said: “When it comes to vaccination, this isn’t for politicians to decide. There is a Joint Committee on Vaccination and Immunisation. They are the medical and the professionals that are absolutely working on the prioritisation…I want to see everyone receive this vaccine… while at the same time, of course, the joint committee is focussing on those that clearly would die without the vaccine and that is clearly the priority right now. But at the same time, they are focussing on those individuals who would have occupational exposure to infection."
Reacting to the news that US congress has approved Biden’s election victory and last night’s rioting scenes, Ms Patel said: "Those scenes are just so shocking, so appalling, so unacceptable…There is no justification for violence…Donald Trump’s own words were inciting that violence…He should have been condemning that violence…We look to the United States as an incredible ally of ours, the heart of democracy and what we saw was just so devastating…We look to America now to have a very peaceful final few weeks of transition."
Commenting on reports about a potentially strained relationship between Biden and Boris Johnson, she said: "There is no contention whatsoever, America is one of our strongest allies in the world…We have a shared agenda, not just on trade but on the security of our nations, the security of the world…We will stand shoulder to shoulder with our ally and that will continue."