At the weekend, ten mass vaccination hubs opened across England to support the seven already in use as the government aims to vaccinate 15 million adults by 15th February.
Those who have received the first dose of the vaccine rose to 3.8 million - over half of over-80s have now received the vaccine with an astonishing 140 jabs being given per minute at peak hours.
Whilst the programme will begin to roll out to other priority groups soon, the Department for Health and Social Care has made it clear that those in the top two priority groups - the over-80s, front-line workers and care home residents - remain the first in line to receive the jab.
Vaccination minister Nadhim Zahawi also assured those in the top two priority groups that they needn’t worry if they were yet to receive the jab and that this would likely be imminent.
The over 70s make up the third and fourth priority groups; over 65s will follow shortly after in the next priority group.
There are a total of nine priority groups, thought to represent 90 - 99% of those most at risk of dying from Covid-19. Zahawi also speculated that workers such as teachers and police officers would be among the first to receive the jab once all priority groups had been covered.
This comes amidst news that the UK has closed all travel corridors until at least 15th February.
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The nine priority groups
When it’s your turn, you will be invited to book a vaccine appointment by phone or letter.
The priority groups are, in order:
- Care home residents and staff
- Those aged 80 and above and front-line health and care workers
- Those aged 75 and above
- Those aged 70 and above the clinically extremely vulnerable - does not include pregnant women or those under 16
- Those aged 65 and over
- Adults aged 16 - 26 in an at-risk group
- Those aged 60 years and above
- Those aged 55 years and above
- Those aged 50 years and above
- Rest of the population
Where will I get vaccinated?
Currently, there are five main locations where people are receiving vaccinations:
- In hospital vaccination hubs
- In GP surgeries
- In care homes for residents and workers
- In pharmacies
- In major vaccination hubs, there are now 17 of these up and down the country
Pharmacies will also be increasing their participation in the vaccine programme. Asda has also announced they are preparing stores up and down the country, converting the clothes and homeware sections of their shops into vaccine hubs. Over 238 in-store pharmacies will be able to provide some 250 doses of the vaccine each day.
On Saturday, 298,087 received the first dose of the vaccine.
"We are now delivering the vaccine at a rate of 140 jabs a minute and I want to thank everyone involved in this national effort," said PM Boris Johnson.
The government’s attempts to speed up the vaccine programme come as infections continue to rise throughout the winter months with the new variant, named B-117, found to be more infectious than the first.
There are signs that B-117 is declining in the UK, but it has now been detected in over 50 countries worldwide.
Sir Simon Stevens - the chief executive of NHS England, told BBC Breakfast that the NHS was in a precarious position and although there are some very early signs that infections are slowing, the next few weeks promise to be some of the worst since the start of the pandemic.