Boris Johnson will unveil a new Army led plan to distribute Britain’s coronavirus jabs this evening as Number 10 scrambles to scale up the UK’s lagging immunisation drive.
The Prime Minister is expected to announce the new plan, drawn up by senior military battlefield planners, at a Downing Street press conference at 5 pm tonight.
It’s expected the new battle strategy will bolster the UK’s chances of delivering on Boris Johnson’s lofty pledge of vaccinating 13 million people and ending lockdown by March.
So far the country’s vaccination schedule has been plagued by supply and staffing shortages, logistical issues and bureaucratic impediments that have strangled its scale-up and it’s meant that only 1.3 million Brits across the United Kingdom have had the jab since it launched a month ago.
The figures revealed that the NHS in England has now managed to vaccinate nearly 1.1 million people since the mass immunisation drive started and the programme saw more than 300,000 doses dished out between December 8 and January 3 in the final week of the Pfizer only plan, which was 27 per cent more than the previous week.
Ministry of Defence chiefs were instructed to develop strategies to distribute the jab evenly to the most vulnerable within the Prime Minister’s target of getting them immunised by mid-February.
Government sources said troops aren’t being drafted in to assist at this stage, with military brass drafted only to assist with the strategy of the rollout. It comes despite pressure from prominent figures, including Labour peer Lord Blunkett, to get soldiers directly involved with the programme.
A source told a newspaper that the Prime Minister is approaching the vaccination roll out as a military process and that’s what we’ll see at tomorrow’s press conference.
It came after Defence Secretary Ben Wallace said the military was standing ready to deliver as many as 100,000 doses a day, should it ever be called upon by the health service.
Boris Johnson is expected to be joined by Brigadier Phil Prosser, who will lay out the necessary plans, as well as Sir Simon Stevens.
The NHS England boss will probably encounter questions about a decision to tell GPs to stand down routine appointments so they can prioritise COVID vaccinations.
And it’s emerged that guidance had been sent to doctors explaining the jabs should be their top focus, with other non-essential activities deferred, potentially for weeks.
NHS England has already advised surgeries to concentrate on the delivery of the vaccine by prioritising jab appointments over anything else. So, it now seems that other patients with other serious conditions will get moved to the back of the line.
Who cares if you found a lump on your breast or you have cancer – they don’t have time for you right now and it’s awful, and now people will get their important appointments at the doctors and the hospitals withdrawn.
There have been people poorly for months, back and forth to A&E, being referred to hospital, but have had their appointments cancelled because they can’t do face to face appointments, so now there are loads of people off work sick, popping tablets.