The NHS is set to launch a round-the-clock COVID vaccination service, with Boris Johnson saying the availability of jabs ‘24/7’ would happen as soon as possible.
After previously ruling out the demand for coronavirus vaccines in the middle of the night, earlier this week the Prime Minister said there would be a move to a round-the-clock service.
He told MPs: “We will be going to 24/7 as soon as we can”, and said Health Secretary Matt Hancock would set out further details “in due course”.
The government had previously faced calls for 24-hour vaccination centres, with Labour leader Sir Keir Starmer saying there would be a “huge clamour” for the service.
But Hancock had earlier questioned whether there be enough demand for such a service, saying: “most people want to get vaccinated in the daytime, and also most people who are doing the vaccinations want to give them in the daytime, but there may be circumstances in which that would help”.
On Thursday evening, Public Health England (PHE) said the number of people in the UK who had been given a first dose of a COVID-19 vaccine as of January 13 was 2,918,252 – up 278,943 from the figures published on Wednesday.
A total of 437,977 people had received a second dose in the UK as of January 13, a rise of 9,745 from the previous day, PHE added.
More than 2.4 million people across the UK have so far received a first dose of the coronavirus vaccine.
In Scotland, vaccinations could begin on a 24-hour schedule when mass centres open in late February or early March, the country’s Health Secretary, Jeane Freeman, said.
The government has pledged that all over-70s, the extremely clinically vulnerable and front-line health and care workers will be offered a jab by mid-February.
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