The UK vaccination campaign is a rare success in a country with the worst confirmed coronavirus outbreak in Europe.
Published: January 24, 2021 11:52 PM |
Last updated: January 24, 2021 11:52 p.m.
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A woman wearing a face mask to contain the spread of the coronavirus pushes a child in a buggy past the steps of St. Paul’s Cathedral in the City of London’s financial district. (Photo | AP)
LONDON: Britain is expanding a coronavirus vaccination program that has seen more than 6 million people receive the first of two doses – even as the country’s death toll in the pandemic approaches 100,000. </ Health Secretary Matt Hancock said Sunday that three-quarters of people over 80 in the UK have had a vaccination.
According to health officials, 6.35 million doses of vaccine have been given since injections began last month, including nearly 500,000 Doses on Saturday, highest daily dose yet.
Health officials want 15 million people, including everyone over 70, to have an initial vaccine by February 15 and cover the entire adult population by September.
Britain is co-vaccinating people two vaccines – one from the US pharmaceutical company Pfizer and the German company BioNTech, the other from the British-Swedish drug manufacturer Ast raZeneca and Oxford University.
There are recordings in doctors’ offices, hospitals, pharmacies and vaccination centers set up in conference rooms, sports stadiums and other major venues like Salisbury Cathedral.
30 more locations are opening this week , including a former IKEA store and industrial history museum that served as the backdrop for the TV show « Peaky Blinders ».
The UK vaccination campaign is a rare success in a country with the worst confirmed coronavirus outbreak in Europe .
The UK has recorded 97,939 deaths in people who tested positive, including 610 new deaths reported on Sunday.
Within days, the UK will become the fifth country in the world, after the US, Brazil, India and Mexico recorded 100,000 COVID-19 deaths. All of them have a much larger population than the UK’s 67 million people.
Some health experts have questioned the Conservative government’s decision to give the two vaccine doses up to 12 weeks apart, instead of the recommended three weeks, to help as many as possible Offering people their first dose quickly.
AstraZeneca believes a first dose of its vaccine will provide protection after 12 weeks, but Pfizer says it hasn’t tested the effectiveness of its sting after such a long hiatus.
But Anthony Harnden, deputy head of the government’s Joint Advisory Committee on Immunization and Vaccination, defended the policy, saying the UK was in a « dire situation ».
« Every second dose of vaccine we give will at the moment refuse someone the first dose and refuse them very good protection, « Harnden told Sky News.
De r UK’s recent surge is partly triggered by a new variant of the virus, first identified in the south-east of England, which scientists believe is more transmissible than the original strain.
The UK government has announced that it will increase quarantine requirements for people from abroad to keep out other new variants discovered in South Africa and Brazil.
Authorities are considering requiring arrivals to stay in quarantine hotels such as those established in Australia and some other countries.
The UK has been on a lockdown period for several weeks to slow the spread of the virus.
Pubs, restaurants, gyms, entertainment venues and many shops are closed and people have to stay at home for the most part.
The lockdown rules will be on Reviewed February 15, but the government says it is too early to talk about easing restrictions « There are signs that the lockdown is starting to freeze cases, but we are far from being low enough, » said Hancock.
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