London (UK): The UK’s National Health Service will pilot a 24-hour COVID-19 vaccination program in hospitals in London as part of the government’s target to offer a vaccine jab to almost 15 million people included in the top four priority groups by mid-February, UK COVID-19 Vaccine Deployment Minister Nadhim Zahawi said on Monday.
“We’re going to pilot the 24-hour vaccination. The NHS is going to pilot that in hospitals in London and we’d look at how to expand that,” Zahawi told Sky News broadcaster.
The minister explained, however, that the “important thing” now is to protect people who are over 80 years old, and for them, the current 8 am to 8 pm vaccination times have proved to be more convenient.
“As you move down the age groups, it’d become much more convenient for people to go late at night or in the early hours, but at the moment, the challenge is obviously to supply the vaccines that need to get into the arms of the most vulnerable,” he said.
According to the NHS data, as of January 16, about 3,8 people from the top two groups – those aged 80 and over and frontline health workers and care home staff – had received the first dose of the Pfizer/BioNTech or AstraZeneca/Oxford vaccines.
The vaccination program will be expanded this week to people in their 70s and to patients who are listed as clinically vulnerable who make the priority groups three and four.
As part of the government’s target to immunize two million people a week, another 10 mass vaccination hubs will add from Monday to the seven already opened last week.