Andrew has provided the following update on the vaccine rollout locally and his question to the Secretary of State for Health earlier today.
I had a question to the Health Secretary in the House of Commons this morning on the subject of vaccines. Phase 1 of the vaccine rollout is determined independently by the Joint Committee on Vaccinations and Immunisations who have set the 9 priority groups within this phase 1. This will see all over 50s, NHS and care staff, carers and those over the age of 16 who are clinically vulnerable with certain conditions vaccinated, starting with the most vulnerable. This phase will take us up to and through the Spring and should reduce deaths by 99% and covers some 32 million people.
The first four groups within Phase 1 should be vaccinated by mid February and this includes in order; care home residents and carers, over-80s and frontline NHS and social care staff, all those over 75 and then all those aged over 70 and clinically extremely vulnerable individuals.
Phase 2 will then commence for the general population and the decisions around who receives this will be public policy decisions and not decided by the JCVI directly. This allows the NHS and Government to consider groups by occupation for example (not forgetting if over 50 or clinically vulnerable people will already have been vaccinated in phase 1).
There has been a lot of talk about teachers getting the vaccine and the police etc. However, I also wanted to raise shop workers too and those associated with this such as delivery drivers. Shop workers have been on the frontline throughout, have had no option of staying at home and have to work at the peak of these waves, dealing with hundreds of customers every day. Some of those customers refuse to wear masks, won't sanitise and don't help by still insisting on paying by cash! Selfish behaviour.
Lots of professions have a good argument to be front of the line in phase 2 and teachers in particular have been very vocal on that. I wanted today to raise the voice of shop workers too who have an equal or better claim than other occupations.
Local Roll-Out Update
With 5 GP vaccine centres now serving the residents of Brigg and Goole and the Isle of Axholme, the roll-out has really increased in the past few days. More vaccine is becoming available and as the AstraZeneca vaccine becomes more available, more locations and GPs will be able to access the vaccine.
The Pfizer vaccine arrives in bigger batches that will vaccinate 1100 patients and has to be used quickly and in a short space of time due to the special way it has to be stored. That is why it needs to be done on fewer locations where it can be done at scale. The AstraZeneca vaccine can be stored in a normal GP fridge and comes in smaller batches.