U.K. Ramps Up Covid Vaccine Rollout as Hospitals Feel Strain

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  • Bloomberg Quicktake: Now published this video item, entitled “U.K. Ramps Up Covid Vaccine Rollout as Hospitals Feel Strain” – below is their description.

    The U.K. said its coronavirus vaccine rollout will accelerate with the opening of seven regional centers at sports and conference venues, amid warnings hospitals are struggling to cope as cases surge.

    Health Secretary Matt Hancock said Sunday the U.K. is “on course” to meet its vaccine target with more than 200,000 people receiving doses every day and the total now standing at about 2 million. The government publishes daily data from Monday, when Hancock will visit one of the new centers before holding a press conference in Downing Street to lay out the vaccination strategy.

    The U.K. faces a race against time to administer vaccines and control the disease. A new faster-spreading virus strain threatens to overwhelm the state-run National Health Service and prolong the need for a lockdown measures that threaten to drag the economy into a double-dip recession.

    “This is the most dangerous time we’ve really had in terms of numbers into the NHS,” England’s Chief Medical Officer Chris Whitty told the BBC on Monday. He urged members of the public to avoid any unnecessary contact with people from other households.

    “We need to really double down, this is everybody’s problem,” he said. “Every single unnecessary contact you have with someone is a potential link in a chain of transmission that will lead to a vulnerable person.”

    Prime Minister Boris Johnson has set a target to deliver about 15 million shots to the most vulnerable people by mid-February, a goal he has described as a “big stretch.” With those most at risk of dying from the disease protected, the idea is to then gradually lift restrictions and re-open the economy.

    Much is also riding politically on meeting the target, after his government faced months of criticism over its handling of the pandemic.

    The U.K. was the first country in the Western world to approve a Covid immunization last month, giving the green light to the Pfizer-BioNTech shot. It has since begun administering doses of a vaccine developed by Oxford University and AstraZeneca and last week approved a vaccine from Moderna.

    The pressure to get vaccines into arms has been ramped up by the emergence of the new virus strain, which has thrown the government’s plans on everything from the economy to education into turmoil by forcing another lockdown.

    The government’s scientific advisers believe new Covid-19 infections are running above 100,000 a day — comparable or exceeding the first wave in the spring. The U.K. reported an additional 54,940 confirmed cases on Sunday, with the total now above 3 million since the pandemic began.

    They also warned that lower adherence to the lockdown is undermining efforts to reduce infections, and that stricter measures may be necessary.

    “The U.K. vaccine delivery plan will be the keystone of our exit out of the pandemic,” Hancock said in an emailed statement Monday. “But we all must continue to play our part by staying at home, following the rules and keeping hands, face, space at the forefront of our minds when out and about.”

    Full story: https://www.bloomberg.com/news/articles/2021-01-11/u-k-ramps-up-covid-vaccine-rollout-with-hospitals-under-strain?sref=Ycj954CZ

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