Almost 25% of older care home residents have received their first dose of the Covid vaccine, the health secretary has announced.
The same applies for two fifths of those aged over 80 – as a total of 2.5 million vaccine doses have now been administered to 2.2 million people.
These cohorts are among the four categories most vulnerable to Covid, which overall form 88% of the total deaths from Covid.
Taking to the podium at last night’s Covid briefing, Matt Hancock said: ‘Care home residents are of course in the very top priority group.
‘In the last few days, since the Oxford vaccine was approved for use in primary care on Thursday morning, we have significantly accelerated the care home vaccination rollout.
‘Almost a quarter of older care home residents have now received their first dose of the vaccine. We are committed to reaching every care home resident this month. And I want to see as much of that as possible as soon as possible.’
He added: ‘Two-fifths of over 80s have now received their first dose.’
Mr Hancock also said the country would meet the target of vaccinating the 13.9m most vulnerable people with their first dose by mid-February.
He said: ‘We’re on track to meet that target. The reason I can be confident is that since Thursday, when we rolled out the Oxford/AstraZeneca vaccine through primary care, which is the biggest part of the rollout plan, we’ve seen the rate of vaccination increase, to 210,000 a day on average.
‘So that’s over the last four days not including today, (including the weekend). The rollout will increase further because of the mass vaccination sites that we’ve opened today. So we’ve got a continued increase in the rate of vaccination – this is happening right across all four nations of the UK, and it means that we are on track to meet the target.’
Mr Hancock added: ‘It’s not going to be easy, but we’re going to get there’.
Last week, the Government urged GPs to ‘ensure’ that they vaccinate every care home resident in their local area by the end of this month.
It talked about an ‘army’ of tens of thousands of volunteer vaccinators being processed ‘as quickly as possible’ to support the efforts.