Watch: Boris Johnson confirms 24/7 vaccines coming ‘as soon as we can’
24/7 COVID vaccines coming ‘as soon as we can’, Boris Johnson announces
PM doesn’t put a date on it, however, citing current limited supply
Government aiming to vaccinate 14m of most vulnerable by mid-February
Johnson told MPs at Prime Minister’s Questions: “We’ll be going to 24/7 as soon as we can”.
The PM said health secretary Matt Hancock will set out details of the plan, but didn’t say when this would be.
The announcement comes just two days after Johnson’s official spokesman insisted “there’s not a clamour for appointments late into the night or early in the morning”.
The government is currently in the midst of a programme to vaccinate nearly 14 million of the most vulnerable people by mid-February.
Johnson said: “At the moment the limit is on supply [of vaccines].
“We have a huge network – 233 hospitals, 1,000 GP surgeries, 200 pharmacies and 50 mass vaccination centres – and they are going exceptionally fast.”
Labour leader Sir Keir Starmer said he welcomed the announcement while urging the government to “get on with this”.
Starmer added: “The sooner we have 24/7 vaccine centres, the better for our NHS and the better for our economy.”
The latest government data shows 2,431,648 people had received their first dose as of Monday, with 412,167 having had their second.
On Monday, Johnson’s spokesman said of the possibility of 24-hour provision: “We’ll do this if it’s needed, absolutely we will do whatever it takes to get this vaccine rolled out as fast as possible.
“The thing is that if both the person doing the vaccination and the person being vaccinated would both prefer for that to happen in the middle of the day, rather than the middle of the night, then that’s probably when we should do it.”
He said there would be some groups where a 24/7 model may be the best approach but added: “Our attitude on the vaccine rollout is whatever it takes to do this as fast and safely possible.”
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