Plan for all adults to be offered Covid jab by September, says Dominic Raab
Video report by ITV News Political Correspondent Daniel Hewitt
Everyone over the age of 18 will be offered the first dose of the Covid vaccine by September, the government hopes.
Foreign Secretary Dominic Raab detailed their “roadmap” out of the pandemic as 10 new mass vaccinations centres prepare to open in England.
The government has a target of getting the most at risk from coronavirus vaccinated by the middle of February - with the hope that will mean current restrictions can be eased by March.
"The government is in the rare position of being able to under-promise and over-deliver when it comes to the vaccine," says Political Correspondent Daniel Hewitt.
“The plan is to get 90% of the most vulnerable, which is the over-80s and those with extreme clinical conditions, vaccinated by mid-February,” he told ITV News.
“Then, by early spring we want to have the further 11% most vulnerable vaccinated, by which point we’ll have 99% of those most at risk – the over 70s, those with clinical conditions – vaccinated.
“And, by September, we want to have every adult offered the first dose.
“If we can do it quicker than that, great. But that’s the roadmap to get us through the current pressures and to effectively administer the vaccine.”
He added he believes the UK is “on track” to meet the vaccination targets but that there is a “long way to go”.
His comments came as more than 3.5 million people in the UK have now received their first dose of a vaccine, with some 324,000 doses administered in the space of 24 hours.
NHS England’s chief executive, Sit Simon Stevens, told BBC’s Andrew Marr show on Sunday that 140 jabs are being delivered “every minute”.
But, at the same time, he warned the health service has never been in a more precarious position and that someone is being admitted to hospital with coronavirus “every 30 seconds”.
This means any lifting of Covid restrictions is not currently part of the immediate plan.
“We hope by early spring to be in a better place,” he told ITV News.
“I think it wouldn’t be done in one big bang, it would be done probably through a phased approach, probably a version to something akin to the tiers we’ve seen before.
“But right now the focus is on protecting the NHS as we come through the latter part of the winter months.”