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Coronavirus vaccines are being issued in increasing rates across the UK, with Vaccine Deployment Minister Nadhim Zahawi today saying 140 people per minute are being vaccinated. He said of the Government’s vaccine programme: “It is going well, we’re vaccinating on average 140 people, that’s first jab, literally a minute. That’s the average so some areas are doing better.”
Mr Zahawi added: “You’ll see that improve as we open more of the large vaccination centres, 17 in total by this week and 50 by the end of the month.
“Today, in some areas where they’ve done the majority of their over 80s, letters are going out to the over 70s and those who are clinically extremely vulnerable.”
The Government and NHS are rolling out vaccines in stages, with the first administered to those living in care homes and residential care workers.
Next, those aged over 80-years-old, healthcare and social care workers were offered the vaccine.
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When will over 60s get the Covid vaccine?
More than 3.8 million people in the UK – including over-80s, care home residents, and NHS and social care staff – have already received their first dose of a Covid-19 vaccine.
Today letters will be going out to those aged 75 and over as the vaccination effort reaches stage three.
This is roughly 2.9 million people across the UK, with the prioritisation decided by the Joint Committee of Vaccination and Immunisation (JCVI).
The next group of people to be offered the vaccine are those aged 70 to 74 – around 3.2 million people – as well as those under 70 who are classed as clinically extremely vulnerable.
Stage five is next, with letters sent to those aged between 65 and 69 – approximately 2.9 million people.
The current schedule is to offer the vaccine to the top four priority groups by mid-February.
This includes care home residents, residential care workers, those aged over 80-years-old, healthcare workers, social care workers, those aged 75 to 79, those aged 70 to 74 and the clinically extremely vulnerable.
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The schedule shows the rest of the remaining priority groups – including over 60s – will be given the vaccine by mid-April.
This includes those aged 65 to 69, those aged under 65 but who are risk, 60 to 64-year-olds, 55 to 59-year-olds and 50 to 54-year-olds.
The remaining adults will be given the vaccine by the autumn.
This schedule may well be sped up, especially given plans to roll out 24-hour vaccines.
Mr Zahawi said 24-hour vaccinations will be piloted in London hospitals by the end of January.
He told Sky News: “We are going to pilot the 24-hour vaccination, the NHS is going to pilot that in hospitals in London and we will look at how we expand that.”
Asked for when the pilots will start, he said: “By the end of January, absolutely.”
But he said 8am to 8pm vaccination “works much more conveniently for those who are over 80 and then as you move down the age groups it becomes much more convenient for people to go late at night and in the early hours”.
He backed the target to offer a first jab to everyone by September as “achievable” and said over-70s are currently being offered first jabs in areas only where “the majority” of over-80s have had their first shot.
Britons do have to receive two doses of the vaccine before they are fully vaccinated.
The first dose helps the immune system create a response against SARS-CoV-2, the virus which causes Covid-19.
The second dose further boosts the immune response to ensure long-term protection.
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