The head of the NHS in England has said news of the approval of the first Covid-19 vaccine needs to be “tempered with realism”.
Sir Simon Stevens, chief executive of the NHS in England, set out more detail about the rollout of the newly-approved vaccine during a Downing Street press briefing.
Here are the key points:
– Sir Simon said the first people to receive the jab from 50 hospital hubs next week would be the over-80s, care home staff and others identified by the JCVI who may already have a hospital appointment.
– As more vaccine becomes available, possibly in the new year, this will be extended out to the other risk groups.
– The vaccine will also then be rolled out to groups of GP practices operating local vaccination centres, with more GP-led clinics opening up as more vaccine becomes available.
– Because of the way the vaccine is distributed – in trays with enough doses for 975 people – it cannot just be delivered to GPs and pharmacists through usual distribution channels, Sir Simon said. Only when regulators approve the “splitting” of the packs will it be distributed to care homes.
– When even more vaccine becomes available, the NHS will be able to “switch on” mass vaccination centres..
– The bulk of the programme for the at-risk population is likely to take place between January and April.
– Sir Simon stressed that the NHS would contact people when it was ready to vaccinate them.