Government pledges two million jabs per week and vaccine centres within 10 miles of everyone
- Credit: Archant
The government has unveiled its long-term coronavirus vaccination programme, pledging two million jabs per week and dedicated centres within 10 miles of almost the entire population.
Tens of millions of people will be immunised by the spring at more than 2,700 vaccination sites across the UK, the Department of Health and Social Care (DHSC) has said.
Its 'Vaccines Delivery Plan' sets out provision of vaccination sites within 10 miles of almost everybody in England by the end of January.
The plan, published on Monday, adds that a small number of highly rural areas will be served via mobile teams.
It is not clear whether parts of Norfolk and Suffolk are among these rural areas.
DHSC documents state that the 'mobile model', where roving teams bring the vaccine directly to individuals, could be extended to help more remote communities, "particularly those at risk of isolation where public transport is limited."
Concerns have already been raised in Norfolk and Suffolk that some parts of the region are currently at least 20 miles from vaccination hubs.
Patients registered in the south Norfolk town of Diss, for example, are 22 miles and a 40-minute drive from their allocated hub in Poringland.
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Health secretary Matt Hancock, who is also MP for West Suffolk, said: "It’s taken a tremendous amount of hard work and dedication to make such an incredible start to this ambitious deployment programme.
"Our vaccine deployment plan sets out exactly how we will harness these efforts to expand the programme quickly and safely.
“Our plan maps our route back to normality, but it does not mean we can be complacent and it is mission critical that everybody abides by the restrictions in the coming weeks.
“The next few months will present a significant opportunity to turn the tide of battle against Covid. I am looking forward to watching these plans bring more reassurance and hope back to people’s lives after a difficult year.”
In the care sector, all residents and staff at more than 10,000 homes across the nation will have been offered a jab by the end of the month.
The DHSC says this will be made possible by a total of 206 active hospital sites, 50 mass vaccination centres and around 1,200 local vaccination sites - which include primary care networks, community pharmacy sites and mobile teams.
Expansion of the programme means all adults will be offered a vaccine by the autumn, as was pledged by Mr Hancock on the BBC's Andrew Marr Show on Sunday.