Vaccines minister Nadhim Zahawi has suggested he would be in favour of including retail workers in a priority grouping with teachers and police after the most clinically vulnerable are vaccinated.
His comments come as the Government said those aged over 70 will start to be offered vaccines in areas where the “majority” of people in the older age category and higher up the priority list had already received their first jab.
Here the PA news agency looks at how the national vaccine programme is progressing.
– How many people have been vaccinated so far?
The number of people to receive first doses in Great Britain (England, Wales, Scotland) is 3,936,784.
A total of 3.5 million have received their first dose in England, according to NHS England data, while Public Health Wales said 151,737 people have received a first dose of a Covid-19 vaccine in Wales.
Scotland’s First Minister Nicola Sturgeon said that 264,991 people across Scotland had now received their first dose of coronavirus vaccine.
Some 140,559 first doses have been given in Northern Ireland, according to Government data from Sunday.
– Who is being prioritised for the vaccines?
Top of the priority list are people who live and work in care homes, followed by people over the age of 80 and frontline health and social care workers, including NHS staff.
Next on the list are people over the age of 75, and the fourth group are people aged over 70 and those classed as clinically extremely vulnerable.
The Government has set the target of vaccinating 15 million people across the UK by mid-February, including health and social care staff, the elderly and people in care homes.
Cabinet minister Dominic Raab said on Sunday that all adults will be offered a first dose by September.
– Where in England are the vaccines being given out?
NHS England data published on Monday showed that of the 3,947,442 jabs given between December 8 and January 17, including both first and second doses, 417,225 were administered to people living in London.
This compares with 746,487 in the Midlands, 681,317 in the North East and Yorkshire, 541,145 in the North West, 652,350 in the South East, 461,792 in the South West and 424,135 in the East of England.
– Who has been getting the jabs?
In total in England, 1,036,605 people aged 80 or over have received a first dose between December 8 to January 10, while 960,699 were given to those under 80, according to weekly NHS England figures from last week.
Across the country, 78% of the 374,103 people to receive a second dose were over 80 compared with 52% of those who received the first jab.
Around half of all people aged 80 and over in north-east England and Yorkshire have received their first dose of a Covid-19 vaccine, the figures suggested.
All eligible care home residents in Newcastle and most of the staff looking after them have received a coronavirus vaccine, Dr Jane Carman, clinical director of Inner West Primary Care Network, said on Monday.
By contrast around three in 10 people aged 80 and over in eastern England have had their first jab.
– Who is next in line to get the vaccine?
Downing Street said that from Monday, those aged over 70 would start to be offered vaccines in areas where the “majority” of those in the older age category and higher up the priority list had already received their first jab.
Today marks a significant milestone as we offer vaccinations to millions more people who are most at risk from COVID-19.
We have a long way to go and there will be challenges ahead – but together we are making huge progress in our fight against this virus. pic.twitter.com/nGZNApxfer
— Boris Johnson (@BorisJohnson) January 18, 2021
Prime Minister Boris Johnson tweeted: “Today marks a significant milestone as we offer vaccinations to millions more people who are most at risk from Covid-19.
“We have a long way to go and there will be challenges ahead – but together we are making huge progress in our fight against this virus.”
Ms Sturgeon said that by the middle of February they hoped to have completed first doses for those aged over 70 and those who are clinically extremely vulnerable and it was hoped everyone aged over 65 will have had their first dose of the vaccine by the beginning of March.
– What will happen after that?
Number 10 said it would be guided by the Joint Committee on Vaccination and Immunisation (JCVI) on whether shop workers should be among those prioritised in phase two of the vaccine programme.
It comes after Mr Zahawi suggested he would be in favour of including retail workers in a priority grouping with teachers and police.
The Prime Minister’s official spokesman said: “We’ve always said we want to ensure that those who are most at risk, most clinically vulnerable, receive the vaccine first and that is what we are doing.
“But it is for the JCVI to look at phase two and advise where the vaccine priority will be after phase one, but I point you to (Health Secretary) Matt Hancock’s words last week.
“I believe he said there is a strong case for professionals who come into contact with a lot of other people to be prioritised as part of phase two, along with the words of the vaccine minister this morning.”