Over-70s and clinically extremely vulnerable people begin receiving COVID-19 vaccines
From today (18th January), people aged 70 and above and clinically extremely vulnerable people will begin receiving invitations for COVID-19 vaccinations.
They will join the care home residents and staff, over-80s and frontline health and care workers that are already being vaccinated in the fight against coronavirus, in line with guidance from the Joint Committee on Vaccination and Immunisation (JCVI).
The UK Government says vaccinating the first two priority groups – care home staff and residents, over-80s and frontline staff – will remain the priority but vaccination sites which have enough supply and capacity for vaccinating further people are allowed to offer vaccinations to the over-70s and clinically extremely vulnerable people.
The NHS opened seven large-scale vaccination centres last week to help boost vaccination capacity, which are:
- Excel Centre in London (London)
- Ashton Gate in Bristol (South West)
- Epsom racecourse in Surrey (South East)
- Millennium Point in Birmingham (Midlands)
- Robertson House in Stevenage (East of England)
- Etihad Tennis Club in Manchester (North West)
- The Centre for Life in Newcastle upon Tyne (North East and Yorkshire)
The centres will deliver thousands of life-saving jabs each week, the NHS says.
Prime Minister Boris Johnson said: “Today is a significant milestone in our vaccination programme as we open it up to millions more people who are most at risk from COVID-19.
“We are now delivering the vaccine at a rate of 140 jabs a minute and I want to thank everyone involved in this national effort. We have a long way to go and there will doubtless be challenges ahead – but by working together we are making huge progress in our fight against this virus.”
As more people are vaccinated, the government hopes that it can reach the prime minister’s commitment of offering vaccinations to the first four priority groups by mid-February.
Health and Social Care Secretary Matt Hancock said: “Now that more than half of all over-80s have had their jab, we can begin vaccinating the next most vulnerable groups. Where an area has already reached the vast majority of groups 1 to 2, they can now start opening up the programme to groups 3 to 4.
“We are working day and night to make sure everyone who is 70 and over, our health and social care workers and the clinically extremely vulnerable are offered the vaccine by the middle of February and our NHS heroes are making huge strides in making this happen.
“This measure does not mean our focus on getting care homes, healthcare staff and those aged 80 and over vaccinated is wavering – it will remain our utmost priority over the coming weeks to reach the rest of these groups.”