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6 Jan, 2021 10:46

‘Herculean effort’: UK needs more than 2 million Covid-19 jabs a week to hit February target says vaccines minister

‘Herculean effort’: UK needs more than 2 million Covid-19 jabs a week to hit February target says vaccines minister

The British minister responsible for the rollout of the country’s vaccine campaign has said it will require a huge effort to reach the target of inoculating 13.9 million by mid-February.

Speaking to Sky News on Wednesday, vaccines minister Nadhim Zahawi said that the UK will need to immunise more than two million every week if it is to meet its target of offering a jab to everyone in the top four priority groups by the middle of February. 

“We need to get on with this and do it quickly, but as safely as possible, which is why I commend the NHS plan that they’ve put in place. It is a coming together of the nation to deliver this - it is a stretching target no doubt... but I’m confident... we will deliver this,” he asserted. 

Asked if the UK had the capacity to deliver more than two million doses a week, Zahawi promised a “massive acceleration” of the vaccination programme. 

The minister said while there had only been 1.3 million jabs given in the first months of the programme, the big increase would be seen in the week January 4-11. 

Also on rt.com Boris Johnson confirms new national lockdown for England as UK registers record Covid-19 cases

The UK started rollout of its second approved vaccine, made by pharmaceutical giant AstraZeneca, on Monday. 

It has been reported that almost 3.5 million doses of the AstraZeneca vaccine have been held up by the Medicines and Healthcare Products Regulatory Agency awaiting batch approval. 

Only 530,000 of the four million doses delivered by AstraZeneca to the NHS have been ‘batch tested’ and are available for use. 

The UK’s vaccination programme began on December 8, using Pfizer’s Covid-19 vaccine.

On Tuesday, England entered a new national lockdown as the country looks to tackle soaring infection rates.

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