Britain targets 24/7 COVID-19 vaccine rollout

By Alistair Smout and William James LONDON (Reuters) - Britain is targeting a 24-hour, 7-day a week COVID-19 vaccination programme as soon as possible, Prime Minister Boris Johnson said on Wednesday, as he bids to step up the pace of the rollout with daily coronavirus deaths at record levels. AstraZeneca executives said the company was on track to deliver 2 million doses of its shot a week before mid-February, and Johnson said increased availability would be crucial to scaling up to a round-the-clock service. 'We'll be going to 24/7 as soon as we can,' Johnson told parliament

Reuters January 14, 2021 00:10:46 IST
Britain targets 24/7 COVID-19 vaccine rollout

Britain targets 247 COVID19 vaccine rollout

By Alistair Smout and William James

LONDON (Reuters) - Britain is targeting a 24-hour, 7-day a week COVID-19 vaccination programme as soon as possible, Prime Minister Boris Johnson said on Wednesday, as he bids to step up the pace of the rollout with daily coronavirus deaths at record levels.

AstraZeneca executives said the company was on track to deliver 2 million doses of its shot a week before mid-February, and Johnson said increased availability would be crucial to scaling up to a round-the-clock service.

"We'll be going to 24/7 as soon as we can," Johnson told parliament. "At the moment the limit is on supply."

Britain reported a record daily death toll of 1,564 on Wednesday, showing the intensity of a second wave that has been more deadly than the first.

Johnson hopes that giving protection to the elderly, the vulnerable and frontline workers by mid-February will provide a route out of a new lockdown which began in England last week.

Scotland, which locked down at the same time, said on Wednesday it would tighten measures further.

Across the United Kingdom, there are 15 million people in the highest priority groups. With 2.6 million first vaccine doses administered so far, the government needs more than 2 million vaccinations a week to hit its target.

Britain is using two vaccines, by AstraZeneca and Pfizer.

Earlier, Health Minister Matt Hancock said Britain was on track to meet the target, and manufacturers were delivering on schedule, but the process would become smoother as it moves along.

AstraZeneca UK President Tom Keith-Roach said he hoped to be able to expand supply beyond 2 million doses a week as processes were optimised, but could not promise that.

Britain is prioritising giving as many people as possible first doses, allowing up to 12 weeks before a second dose.

AstraZeneca research chief Mene Pangalos supported the move, saying data showed an 8-12 week gap was a "sweet spot" for efficacy.

Pfizer has been more cautious, warning that there is no data to support delaying the second dose of its shot beyond 21 days, and other industry voices echoed that wariness.

"The biopharmaceutical industry supports adhering to the dosing that has been assessed in clinical trials," a group of industry bodies including Vaccines Europe and the International Federation of Pharmaceutical Manufacturers and Associations said in a statement.

It said any changes should follow science and be based on transparent analysis of data.

(Reporting by Alistair Smout, William James, Michael Holden, Elizabeth Piper and Estelle Shirbon; Editing by Giles Elgood and Andrew Cawthorne)

This story has not been edited by Firstpost staff and is generated by auto-feed.

Updated Date:

TAGS:

also read

France, Germany to agree to NATO role against Islamic State - sources
| Reuters
World

France, Germany to agree to NATO role against Islamic State - sources | Reuters

By Robin Emmott and John Irish | BRUSSELS/PARIS BRUSSELS/PARIS France and Germany will agree to a U.S. plan for NATO to take a bigger role in the fight against Islamic militants at a meeting with President Donald Trump on Thursday, but insist the move is purely symbolic, four senior European diplomats said.The decision to allow the North Atlantic Treaty Organization to join the coalition against Islamic State in Syria and Iraq follows weeks of pressure on the two allies, who are wary of NATO confronting Russia in Syria and of alienating Arab countries who see NATO as pushing a pro-Western agenda."NATO as an institution will join the coalition," said one senior diplomat involved in the discussions. "The question is whether this just a symbolic gesture to the United States

China's Xi says navy should become world class
| Reuters
World

China's Xi says navy should become world class | Reuters

BEIJING Chinese President Xi Jinping on Wednesday called for greater efforts to make the country's navy a world class one, strong in operations on, below and above the surface, as it steps up its ability to project power far from its shores.China's navy has taken an increasingly prominent role in recent months, with a rising star admiral taking command, its first aircraft carrier sailing around self-ruled Taiwan and a new aircraft carrier launched last month.With President Donald Trump promising a US shipbuilding spree and unnerving Beijing with his unpredictable approach on hot button issues including Taiwan and the South and East China Seas, China is pushing to narrow the gap with the U.S. Navy.Inspecting navy headquarters, Xi said the navy should "aim for the top ranks in the world", the Defence Ministry said in a statement about his visit."Building a strong and modern navy is an important mark of a top ranking global military," the ministry paraphrased Xi as saying.