Matt Hancock warned not to take ‘foot off pedal’ in race to get over-70s vaccine

Coronavirus vaccine: UK mustn’t take ‘foot off the pedal’ says GP

Dr Dawn Harper was on talkRADIO with Julia Hartley-Brewer to discuss the “race against time” to rollout the coronavirus vaccine. The GP’s word for the Health Secretary Matt Hancock came as  NHS England chief executive Sir Simon Stevens said that a coronavirus patient is admitted to hospital “every thirty seconds.” Dr Harper said that while doses being rolled out to over 70s was “good news,” now “is not the time to take our foot off the pedal” as “things are going to get worse before they get better in hospitals.”

Dr Harper said: “My hospital colleagues tell me they are absolutely swamped. We do have winter pressures every year but this is quite something different.

“People are very worried in the NHS, in hospitals. As general practitioners were are being asked to keep people at home wherever possible and to not send them into our hospitals.

“Our hospitals are full.

“So it is very much a good news day in terms of the vaccine and I do believe that is our way out of this but this is absolutely not the time to take our foot off the pedal.”

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She continued: “We all need to do our bit really maintain that social distancing, the handwashing, the mask-wearing because we are not at the peak yet.

“We are being told that the peak is still to come so things are going to get worse before they get better in the hospital setting.”

It follows news that over-70s will be invited to get their Covid jab from today as the UK’s mass-vaccination blitz continues to accelerate.

Boris Johnson has hailed the announcement as a “significant milestone” in the country’s battle against coronavirus. 

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The NHS has so far been working to vaccinate care home residents and staff, the over-80s and frontline staff.

As of yesterday more than half of all over-80s have already been vaccinated with the overall number of doses administered reaching 3.9 million people.

The programme is going so well it has raised hopes in Whitehall that every adult could be offered the jab by July

Some 298,087 jabs were given in the UK yesterday (Sun) – a slight dip as it was Sunday – but the daily figure could reach almost 400,000 today as the new hubs come on stream.


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The centres in Dorset, Somerset, Lancashire, Berkshire, Norfolk, Essex, Lincolnshire, Merseyside, York and north London, will each be able to administer “thousands” of vaccines every day, NHS England said.

They will join the existing seven hubs which were opened earlier this month.

In addition to the mass vaccination hubs, there are around 1,000 GP-led surgeries and more than 250 hospitals providing jabs.

Matt Hancock said the plan was still to vaccinate 15 million people by mid-February – 88 per cent of those most at risk of dying from the virus – followed by another 17 million in the spring, covering 99 per cent of those most at risk.


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