Coronavirus vaccine may only go to half of Brits – here’s who gets priority

Coronavirus vaccine may only go to half of Brits – here’s who gets priority

 

Fewer than half of Brits may end up getting a coronavirus vaccine, the head of the country’s vaccine taskforce has said.

Kate Bingham told the Financial Times that officials hoped to be able to administer the medicine to around 30 million adults in the country of around 67 million.

It sheds a new light on Boris Johnson’s repeated pledges to roll out a vaccine once one can be approved.

The UK has reserved hundreds of millions of doses from various schemes, and the PM said yesterday: “It’s possible that we will make significant progress on the vaccine this year.

“I went to see the scientists at AstraZeneca in Oxford and those teams they seem to be doing fantastically well.”

However, Ms Bingham urged caution. She told the FT: “People keep talking about ‘time to vaccinate the whole population’ but that is misguided.

Scroll down to read the priority list in full.

“There is going to be no vaccination of people under 18.

“It’s an adult-only vaccine for people over 50 focusing on health workers and care home workers and the vulnerable.”

Government officials insist a new Vaccines Manufacturing and Innovation Centre would be able to produce enough doses for the entire UK population in as little as six months.

However, that does not guarantee everyone in the UK will get the vaccine, or at least, they may not get it straight away.

The government’s current “prioritisation” list does aim for the whole population to be vaccinated, but only as the least urgent priority – with over-50s, at-risk groups and NHS and care workers all put first.

Government sources stressed “the scale of what is rolled out and when” will depend on what vaccines prove to work.

They added the government will need to “remain flexible” as “at this stage there are no certainties in the development, production, formulation and timing of any new vaccines.”

Health Secretary Matt Hancock said yesterday the military would be involved in rolling out a vaccine next year.

He hoped the country would have as “normal a Christmas as possible” and there would then be a breakthrough with a vaccine in Spring.

The Army would help the NHS to deliver the life-saving shots to the population, starting with frontline workers and the most vulnerable.

Ministers have previously said that they hoped a vaccine would be developed by Christmas – though health chiefs were less optimistic.

A Government spokesperson said: “We want as many people as possible to access a Covid-19 vaccine and we are considering the advice of the independent Joint Committee for Vaccination and Immunisation on which groups of people to prioritise.

“The committee’s interim advice is the vaccine should first be given to care home residents and staff, followed by people over 80 and health and social care workers, then to the rest of the population in order of age and risk.

“An enormous amount of planning and preparation has taken place across Government to quickly roll out a safe and effective vaccine.”

The Joint Committee on Vaccination and Immunisation drew up a “provisional” list on September 25 of who would be prioritised for a coronavirus vaccine, in what order.

The 10 priority groups include the oldest, at-risk groups and NHS and care workers before gradually decreasing in age to cover the over-50s.

The rest of the under-50 population would be at then back of the queue.

The JCVI stresses this advice could change dramatically as more becomes known about a vaccine.

This could include its effect in different age and risk groups; and how the virus is spreading in society.

“This advice assumes availability of a vaccine which is safe and effective in all age groups and has a moderate impact on transmission,” the JCVI said.

“Based on the information provided, the committee agreed that it was not possible to come to a firm position on priority groups at this time.”

Such conditions may include (though this list could be updated closer to the time of a vaccine):

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