2.3m COVID-19 jabs complete as government plans 1,400 vaccination sites by end of January

More than 2.3m doses of COVID-19 vaccine have been administered in England, according to NHS data published alongside plans for more than 1,450 sites providing jabs by the end of January.

COVID-19 vaccine (Photo: Mike Kemp/In Pictures/Getty Images)
COVID-19 vaccine (Photo: Mike Kemp/In Pictures/Getty Images)

Prime minister Boris Johnson promised last week that more than 1,000 GP-led vaccination sites would be established across England by 15 January.

A government vaccine deployment plan published on 11 January says around 1,200 local sites will be set up in total by the end of the month - including GP-led primary care network (PCN) sites, community pharmacy locations and mobile teams that will deliver vaccinations in rural areas.

Alongside these local sites, 50 large vaccination centres - of which seven became operational this week - are planned, alongside a further 206 hospital hubs.

COVID-19 vaccine strategy

The government's vaccine delivery plan says that currently 96% of the population of England is within 10 miles of a COVID-19 vaccination site - and that by the end of January this will extend across the country.

The government strategy says: 'In a small number of highly rural areas, the vaccination centre will be a mobile unit. Vaccine coverage will be reviewed and increased with support from our military advisors who compare provision against key data such as population density.

'The mobile model (where “roving” vaccination teams bring the vaccine directly to individuals) which is being used to support the vaccination of care home residents and workers could be extended to
more groups in time such as those experiencing homelessness, those escaping abuse in refuges, or communities with lower vaccination rates. Mobile models will also take the vaccine to those in the detained estate.'

GPonline reported last week that most GPs are not convinced the government will be able to achieve its target of 2m vaccines a day - but the plan says this capacity will be the minimum in place by the end of January.

2m vaccinations a day

The plan says: 'In England, by the end of January, our capacity to vaccinate several hundred thousand a day, and at least 2m people per week will be achieved.'

Statistics from NHS England published alongside the vaccine strategy reveal that as of 10 January, the NHS in England had delivered 2,333,764 doses of COVID-19 vaccine.

Despite the government announcing in late December that second doses were to be delayed to spread coverage of first doses to more people, 374,613 vaccinations to date have been second doses.

GPs have criticised the rollout of mass vaccination centres in parts of England this week despite supply problems for local sites delivering vaccinations - and the government strategy provides limited detail on future supply timescales.

JCVI priority groups

However, it confirms that 'the UK’s vaccine supply and scheduled deliveries will fully support vaccination of JCVI priority cohorts 1-4 by 15 February'.

The government has suggested that around 13.9m vaccinations will be delivered by that date - although the strategy suggests cohorts 1-4 account for around 12m people in England and 15m across the UK.

The strategy adds that the government has 'signed deals for substantial future supply of both the Pfizer/BioNTech and Oxford/AstraZeneca vaccines to replenish the UK’s stocks and enable swift vaccination of first and second doses across the UK in the weeks and months ahead.

The UK has also ordered 17m doses of the Moderna vaccine, the third COVID-19 vaccine approved for use in the UK, that are due to begin arriving from spring.

COVID-19 vaccine coverage

The strategy says 'it will likely take until spring to offer the first dose of vaccination to the JCVI priority groups 1-9, with estimated cover of around 27m people in England and 32m people across the UK'.

It reiterates a pledge from health and social care secretary Matt Hancock that all adults would be offered a vaccination by autumn 2020.

The strategy also sets out plans to continue monitoring new strains of coronavirus and preparing to ensure 'a rapid response if a variant does emerge that means the current vaccines are less effective'.

The government plans also claim health inclusion is at the 'heart' of its planning - highlighting a national equalities board set up in recognition of the disproportionate impact of COVID-19 on BAME communities to ensure 'staff communications are relevant, accessible and specific and the view and priorities of BAME staff are part of the conversation'.

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