Covid-19: Vaccinations

Part of the debate – in the House of Commons at 5:27 pm on 11th January 2021.

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Photo of Nadhim Zahawi Nadhim Zahawi Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy), The Parliamentary Under-Secretary for Health and Social Care 5:27 pm, 11th January 2021

There is a lot to unpack there; let me try to take the points in reverse. We can guarantee that those who have had their Pfizer vaccine will get their booster within the prescribed period of up to 12 weeks. The hon. Lady asked about those who have had a second jab already. Information went out to primary care networks and hospital hubs, saying that those who have an appointment up to 4 January should be able to have their appointment honoured. Beyond that, they have been working very closely with the NHS England team centrally, which we have been supporting with resources and actually phoning to postpone those appointments further; hence why we have protected many more people.

It is worth reminding the House that for every 250 people from the most vulnerable cohorts that we protect, we save a life. For every 20 people in care homes that we vaccinate, we save a life. The focus is therefore now very much on care homes. We began with the Pfizer vaccine into care homes. Of course, last week—on 4 January—we started to roll out the AstraZeneca vaccine, which is much easier to administer into care homes, especially for the roving teams. It had to spend two days in hospitals before it was released to primary care networks, but the moment it was released, it went into care homes and now some areas in England. We have about 10,000 care homes where we have to vaccinate residents and, of course, those who look after them. Some have done their care homes already; others are beginning to do the same thing. All will be done by the end of the month.

The hon. Lady talked about people having to travel long distances. I mentioned in my opening statement about the strategy that there will be 2,700 vaccination sites. I think she may have been confused about the figure of 1,200, which is the number of primary care networks, hospital hubs and large vaccination centres, but there will be 2,700 vaccination sites. By the end of the month, no one will be more than 10 miles away from a vaccination site.