Round-the-clock jabs are being planned to push the UK towards its vaccination targets.
24-hour vaccination centres have been rumoured in the press for the last few days, and now Prime Minister Boris Johnson has announced that the government plans to make them a reality. Speaking at Prime Minister’s Questions today, Johnson confirmed the intention to start offering 24-hour vaccination appointments in a bid to accelerate the rollout of coronavirus vaccines, and said that they would be made available “as soon as we can”.
Details of the plan are scarce for the moment, with Johnson revealing that Health Secretary Matt Hancock would provide more information in due course. The benefits of a 24-hour vaccine service are readily apparent; with ambitious targets to vaccinate 14 million vulnerable people by mid-February, round-the-clock vaccinations would help accelerate the rollout. The after-hours appointments would be part of a renewed effort on vaccinations, which has seen seven major vaccination hubs (including London’s NHS Nightingale) open, and Asda commit to offering the vaccine in certain stores.
However, obstacles to the plan include supply of vaccines (the major limiting factor in any drug rollout), and finding staff to administer them during the night. This is a particular concern given that the NHS is already facing immense pressure, especially in areas like London, where Sadiq Khan declared a major incident last week. It’s thought that the 24/7 vaccination hubs would begin as a pilot scheme, before being rolled out further if they prove success. We’ll keep you updated with any further news on the plans.
Also published on Medium.