Pharmacists have asked the government to distribute small chains of coronavirus vaccinations to help Boris Johnson deliver on his ambitious promise to immunize 13 million people and end the national lockdown by March.
The Royal Pharmaceutical Society said today that there were thousands of pharmacies on the high street ready, willing and able to help launch the program, which has a mammoth bump of 3 million Brits to be thrust every week.
So far, only 1.3 million people in the UK have been vaccinated with the Oxford / AstraZeneca or Pfizer / BioNTech shocks since the program started a month ago. It is getting louder today that the process is being speeded up dramatically – with concerns that local chemists and other facilities are underutilized.
The government has approved several larger pharmacies to begin dosing next week. However, sites were only selected if they could guarantee they could dispense at least 950 doses per day and two trained pharmacists could administer them at any time. This was necessary for the Pfizer vaccine – which was difficult to store and handle – but the arrival of the Oxford-AstraZeneca sting opens the door for much smaller sites to help.
The Royal College of GPs warned Number 10 against dismantling its "bureaucratic barriers" and recruiting pharmacists if the launch is to be a success, while the National Pharmacy Association claimed it was a breeze for local chemists to be brought in because of the board Nation "cried out for convenient access to vaccine".
Sandra Gidley, president of the RPS, said small pharmacies could help dispense an additional 1 million doses per week and support the delayed rollout. She told BBC Radio 4 Today: “We are already used to giving up the flu vaccine. You have an army of trained vaccines ready, ready, and able to play and play a role.
& # 39; With the AstraZeneca vaccine, there's no reason this couldn't be done through community pharmacies. There are over 11,000 pharmacies. If each of them is doing 20 a day, that's 1.3 million extra vaccines a week that can be provided, very often to those who are hardest to reach. Why shouldn't a government want that? & # 39;
When the government's vaccine tsar, Nadhim Zahawi, admitted this morning that the 13 million vaccine target was "very far-reaching". – but can be delivered. Given the speed of the rollout that's been happening so far, the weekly figure must be more than three million than two million through February to meet the Prime Minister's goal. Mr Zahawi nodded and said, “You will see this surge – the NHS has a very clear plan. We have a fantastic team working 24/7 to make this happen. No doubt it's a stretch goal. But I think it's one that we should definitely watch out for. & # 39;
There are growing concerns that the government is already trying to downplay its vaccination promises after Matt Hancock announced yesterday the prospect of delivering the coronavirus shock to the 13 million vulnerable people most affected by mid-February as a "best case" Scenario "- for all that this is the only way the country can get out of lockdown with the livelihood and psychological wellbeing of millions of people.
Nadhim Zahawi said the goal of covering more than 13 million of the most vulnerable people in seven weeks was "very stressful" – but could be achieved
The UK was the first country to start vaccinating members of the public against Covid-19 and has now shocked more than 1.3 million people. However, it had to pursue a controversial strategy to fill the gaps between doses to protect the elderly from a runaway second wave (Image: Joan Barnes, 88, getting a vaccine while driving through Manchester)
The slides presented at the briefing showed that one in 50 people in England is believed to be infected with coronavirus
WHO is refusing to support the move of Pfizer Covid vaccines in the UK by 12 weeks as there is no evidence that it will work
The World Health Organization has refused to bless the UK plan to cut Pfizer's two doses of coronavirus vaccine by more than a month.
Officials in the UK have decided to use all available doses of the Pfizer / BioNTech shock, which was first approved, to give a single dose to as many people as possible. In doing so, they make people wait up to 12 weeks for their second push.
Covid cases began to decline in studies about 12 days after the first dose, but since everyone got a second shot just 10 days later, scientists don't know how long immunity would last from the first shot.
WHO said yesterday that governments should give people their second dose within 21 to 28 days of the first to ensure the vaccine has long-term effects.
But it did not attack the UK's decision not to do so. It admitted that with the rise in infections and deaths in recent weeks, the government was forced to make a difficult decision.
One of the experts said he "fully acknowledge that countries may need to be even more flexible on how to administer the second dose".
It comes after England's Chief Medical Officer Professor Chris Whitty again defended the controversial move last night, stating that the benefits outweigh the risks.
He admitted that there is a chance of increasing the risk of the virus developing vaccine resistance in the future, but that the need to vaccinate people now is overwhelming.
Mr. Zahawi told Sky News, “I am confident that as more sites go into deployment – I've talked about the hospitals, general practitioners, community pharmacies and national vaccination centers – we will be at over 1,000 vaccination sites. & # 39;
There have been concerns about the speed at which vaccines can be ready for injection.
The bulk vaccine must undergo a "sterility test" when it is brought to a "fill and stop" to make it ready for use.
"The MHRA (Medicines and Health Products Regulator) is doing everything possible to do this properly, without compromising on safety, to test each batch," said Zahawi.
"The worst thing we can do … in a national vaccination program that is the largest in this nation's history is to get this wrong."
Shadow Health Secretary Jonathan Ashworth put pressure on NHS England to use local pharmacies to meet as many Brits as possible and end the pandemic quickly.
"Community Pharmacy already delivers flu vaccinations and is respected and trusted by the locals," he said.
& # 39; In addition to GPs, community pharmacy everywhere should be mobilized to address the vaccine challenge.
“We have to go further and faster with vaccination. There is no moment to lose. & # 39;
Leyla Hannbeck, executive director of the Association of Independent Multiple Pharmacies, today called on the NHS to use the "invisible army" of local pharmacies to introduce the vaccine.
"We can make millions of puffs through pharmacies," she told MailOnline. “I knocked on the doors of NHS England about it.
“We know the Oxford / AstraZeneca vaccine is not as difficult to administer as the Pfizer vaccine because it can be stored at a lower temperature and therefore treated like the flu vaccine.
“I know some of my members, they can just come in there and make thousands. Just get in touch with the pharmacies and we can do millions in weeks. & # 39;
She said NHS England invited pharmacies to sign up to dispense the vaccine in late November, but this was only for the Pfizer / BioNTech sting. This meant that many pharmacies did not apply because they did not have the proper equipment to store the shock at -78 ° C (-94 ° F).
It came after Tory MPs yesterday accused Matt Hancock of downplaying the government's vaccination ambitions, claiming his department turned down an offer from pharmacists to aid in the largest vaccination drive in history – and it turned out that doses of the vaccine will not be delivered to general practitioners on a Sunday.
The health minister described the prospect of giving the 13 million vulnerable people, who are most affected by mid-February, the coronavirus sting as a "best case scenario" – although this is the only way the country can with its livelihoods and its existence out of lockdown comes the spiritual well-being of the millions who ride on it.
Many of his parliamentary colleagues were not reassured by his comments on Zoom yesterday morning as fears grow that the government will not be able to act fast enough to meet the target.
A MP who described the call as "Hancock's half-hour" said: "He stressed that the prospect of vaccinating vulnerable people by mid-February is a best-case scenario." It was severely restricted.
“He has given many reasons why it could not happen by then. He gave himself a lot of leeway. It was very a claim and there were no guarantees. I'm afraid they didn't get the vaccine in sufficient quantities. & # 39;
& # 39; He said two million doses of the Oxford vaccine would arrive this week for use next week. You should have camped. The rollout must take place as soon as possible. It's the only chance we have. & # 39;
Meanwhile, the UK National Lockdown Enforcement Regulations went into effect at 12:01 p.m. today as new figures indicated that one in 50 people suffered from coronavirus last week.
Data from the Office of National Statistics (ONS) suggests that 1.1 million people in private households in England had Covid-19 between December 27 and January 2.
The number of daily confirmed cases of coronavirus in the UK topped 60,000 for the first time, while an additional 830 people died within 28 days of testing positive for Covid-19 on Tuesday.
The latest data from NHS England showed there were 26,467 Covid-19 patients in hospital at 8 a.m. on January 5th – a 21 percent increase from the previous week.
UK chief medical officer Professor Chris Whitty said the risk would gradually decrease over time as measures "are being phased out at different rates in different parts of the country," but warned that some restrictions might have to be reintroduced next winter .
Graham Medley, professor of infectious disease modeling at the London School of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine and member of the Scientific Advisory Group on Emergencies (Sage), said we are in the fight against the coronavirus for the long term.
He told BBC Radio 4's Today: "Vaccinations are a way out, but I think he's right to address the possibility that – next winter or even the following winter – there could be a chance that Covid could get into will resurgence to such an extent that this government must take action again to prevent another major outbreak. "
All parts of the UK are now subject to strict coronavirus restrictions.
First Minister Nicola Sturgeon imposed a ban on Scotland for the remainder of January, with a legal requirement to stay home and schools closed to most students until February.
Schools and colleges in Wales will also remain closed until at least January 18 and switch to online learning, with the GCSE and A-level exams already canceled.
In Northern Ireland, schools are expected to provide distance learning by mid-term, but there is no clarity on whether the exams will take place.
Mr Williamson will set out his approach to England's schools when addressing MPs.
Public Health England's Susan Hopkins said there was no guarantee schools could return after the planned February break.
She told the BBC: “I think it will really depend on the epidemiology of the virus. We have to look at it by year, age group by age group, like it did the first time, and the final decisions will be made by the government if they want to bring the students back. & # 39;
Robert Halfon, chair of the Education Select Committee, told Sky News that the situation regarding schools was "a mess".
"I think now we have to go ahead and make sure we have an examination system that is a level playing field for students and fair to the disadvantaged," he said.
(tagsToTranslate) Dailymail (t) Nachrichten (t) Boris Johnson (t) NHS (t) Coronavirus