Covid UK: Britons who have received their jab 'will be offered a vaccine passport' in trial

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Covid UK: Britons who have received their jab 'will be offered a vaccine passport' in trial

How the Government's vaccine plan breaks down  PHASE 1 (FEB 15 TARGET)CARE HOME RESIDENTS - 300,000CARE HOME WORKERS - 500,000AGE 80+ - 3,300,000

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How the Government’s vaccine plan breaks down 

PHASE 1 (FEB 15 TARGET)

CARE HOME RESIDENTS – 300,000

CARE HOME WORKERS – 500,000

AGE 80+ – 3,300,000

HEALTHCARE WORKERS – 2,400,000

SOCIAL CARE WORKERS – 1,400,000

AGE 75-79 – 2,300,000

AGE 70-74 – 3,200,000

CLINICALLY EXTREMELY VULNERABLE (UNDER 70) – 1,200,000

PHASE 2 (SPRING)

65-69 2,900,000

AT-RISK UNDER 65 7,300,000

60-64 1,800,000

55-59 2,400,000

50-54 2,800,000

PHASE 3 (AUTUMN)

REST OF ADULT POPULATION 21,000,000 

Thousands of Britons who have received their coronavirus jab will be offered a vaccine passport in a trial taking place this month.

The passport, created by biometrics firm iProov and cybersecurity firm Mvine, will be issued as a free app which can be downloaded and will allow users to prove if they have had the vaccine. 

Though the Department of Health said that there were ‘no plans’ to introduce vaccine passports, the Government’s science and research funding agency Innovate UK has pumped £75,000 into the project.  

The Government-backed trial will be overseen by two directors of public health in local authorities and will be complete in March, though the locations have yet to be agreed, according to the Telegraph.

It is expected to show how the passports can be used to help the NHS keep track of the number of people that have received their first or second jab.

Mvine director and founder Frank Joshi said the cybersecurity company started working on the passports to demonstrate test results but later acquired more funding to switch into vaccination passports.

iProov boss Andrew Bud told the paper: ‘We’re talking about a piece of remarkable technology that can be brought to bear and can be readily integrated with the NHS.’

Both companies added that if the vaccine passports prove successful, the project could be rolled out to millions of people across the country.

A spokesman for the Department of Health said: ‘As large numbers of people from at risk groups are vaccinated, we will be able to gather the evidence to prove the impact on infection rates, hospitalisation and reduced deaths. If successful, this should in time lead to a reassessment of current restrictions.’

The Government has contradicted itself on the implementation of vaccine passports, with Michael Gove saying they were ‘not the plan’ while Boris Johnson’s vaccine tsar Nadhim Zahawi said they were ‘looking at the technology’. 

Mr Zahawi later told a Westminster Hall debate on Covid-19 inoculation they had ‘absolutely no plans for vaccine passporting’ and said ‘mandating vaccinations is discriminatory and completely wrong’.   

The policy has sparked concern that the passports could discriminate against people who must not be vaccinated, such as pregnant women. Others fear it could keep non-vaccinated Britons under house arrest until they have a jab. 

It comes as No10 considers tightening the third national lockdown by imposing Chinese-style curfews, outdoor mask mandates and 10ft social distancing – as well as the closure of nurseries and limits on exercise. 

In other coronavirus developments:

  • Bank of England governor Andrew Bailey warned furlough is masking unemployment and the true rate could be 6.5 per cent not 4.9 per cent;
  • The government is facing more pressure to make the vaccination programme 24-hours and start giving more frontline workers jabs;
  • Matt Hancock has denied there is a national oxygen shortage as the strain on the NHS increases but admitted patients might have to be moved to where there are supplies; 
  • One in every three deaths in England and Wales was linked to coronavirus in the final days of 2020, official figures revealed today as a separate analysis claimed the virus was behind the sharpest rise in fatalities since 1940;
  • Downing Street has admitted pictures of the random contents in some free school meal food parcels are ‘completely unacceptable’ after the issue was highlighted by Marcus Rashford;  
  • Seven vaccination hubs have come into use, including London’s ExCeL and Birmingham’s Millennium Point;
  • Derbyshire Police has cancelled £200 fines for two women penalised for driving five miles to go for a walk;
  • Nearly a quarter of care home residents have received their first shot of Covid vaccine, with nearly 2.7million doses now administered across the UK;
  • Hospitals started rationing oxygen as it emerged that one in four coronavirus patients is under 55.
Moira Edwards receives an injection of the Oxford/AstraZeneca Covid-19 vaccine at the NHS vaccine mass vaccination centre that has been set up in Epsom Race Course in Surrey

Moira Edwards receives an injection of the Oxford/AstraZeneca Covid-19 vaccine at the NHS vaccine mass vaccination centre that has been set up in Epsom Race Course in Surrey

Health Secretary Matt Hancock speaking at a Downing Street Covid press conference

Health Secretary Matt Hancock speaking at a Downing Street Covid press conference

Mvine director and founder Frank Joshi

iProov boss Andrew Bud

Mvine director and founder Frank Joshi (left) said the company started working on the passports to demonstrate test results but acquired more funding to switch into vaccination passports. iProov boss Andrew Bud (right) said: ‘We’re talking about a piece of remarkable technology that can be brought to bear and can be readily integrated with the NHS.’

How could Boris Johnson tighten the lockdown rules in England?

Boris Johnson is said to be considering tightening the coronavirus lockdown rules in England amid a surge in cases. 

Here are some of the options Mr Johnson could consider: 

Curbs on click and collect

At the moment non-essential shops are allowed to offer click and collect services but there are concerns that this still results in too much interaction between different households. The Government could opt to ban non-essential shops from offering click and collect services, restricting it to just supermarkets and other essential shops. Nicola Sturgeon said today she is considering such a move in Scotland. 

Takeaways

Restaurants are not allowed to physically open during lockdown but they are allowed to offer takeaway food. However, there are rising worries that picking up takeaway food is also leading to too many households mixing while they wait for food to be prepared. Rules could therefore be tightened to stop people waiting inside restaurants. Ms Sturgeon also said this is under consideration in Scotland.  

Closing more work places

All workers who can work from home have already been instructed to do so. But rising case rates could prompt ministers to close workplaces which cannot shift to home working. It is thought estate agents and construction sites could be targeted with orders to shut down in a move which could have devastating consequences for jobs and the economy.

Bigger fines

The Government is stepping up its efforts to enforce the current rules, with the police now more likely than ever before to hand out fines to rule breakers. The value of the fine could be increased to act as a bigger deterrent.

Meanwhile, another 165,000 vaccines were rolled out yesterday, according to official figures that come amid mounting pressure on No10 to adopt a 24/7 roll-out. 

With the successful roll-out of a jab the Government’s only hope of ever easing the endless cycle of lockdowns, pressure is mounting on Mr Johnson to pull out all the stops to make sure the NHS operation works.

And the inoculation drive – the biggest in British history – has already started to pick up pace, following the approval of Oxford’s game-changing jab. 

Home Secretary Priti Patel today revealed 2.43million people have now had their first dose, up from 2.29m yesterday. Another 20,000 second doses were also added onto the cumulative total, with 2.8million shots administered in total. 

But the daily vaccination figure needs to double if the Prime Minister has any chance of delivering on his pledge to vaccinate all 13.9million Britons in the top four priority groups by February 15.

With just 34 days left to deliver on his lockdown-ending promise, around 11.5million over-70s, NHS workers, care home residents and workers, and adults with underlying conditions still need to be vaccinated — the equivalent of around 340,000 a day.

Pressure is mounting on the Government to dish out coronavirus vaccines 24/7, with Labour saying No10 ‘must deliver for the British people’ because the public ‘have sacrificed so much’. 

Ministers have claimed there was ‘no clamour’ for appointments beyond 8pm. But Nicola Sturgeon today hinted Scotland could adopt a round-the-clock programme, if it would ‘help us get through them faster’.

Meanwhile, Defence Secretary Ben Wallace told the Commons today that military personnel can ‘do more to assist’, as he suggested that the hold-up was due to a lack of stock and problems in the supply chain.

He added: ‘I could deploy all 100,000 soldiers tomorrow ready to vaccinate but if the stock isn’t there then we’ll have people not… we could employ them better off.

‘We are very, very clear that we can do more to assist, the Prime Minister knows that and the Prime Minister has indicated that we will be called on as the NHS requires it.’

Announcing the new vaccine figures in tonight’s Downing Street press conference, Ms Patel said vaccination centres are following Covid-secure guidelines to ensure they are safe for staff and visitors receiving jabs.

She said: ‘Cubicles are spaced out and we’re working with PHE and following all the guidance in terms of the safety and protective measures that are required for the staff in those centres but also for the individuals coming in for immunisation.’

Dr Vin Diwakar, medical director for the NHS in London, added: ‘We have absolutely rigid standards of infection prevention control in all of these vaccine centres.’

Ms Patel also said the Government is looking at prioritising frontline workers for the coronavirus vaccine once the most vulnerable groups have received the jab.

She added: ‘We are looking at those who are on the front line such as police officers, teachers and others who are naturally at occupational risk of coming in contact with the virus. 

 

Home Secretary Priti Patel revealed 2.43million people have now had their first dose, up from 2.29m yesterday. Another 20,000 second doses were also added onto the cumulative total

Home Secretary Priti Patel revealed 2.43million people have now had their first dose, up from 2.29m yesterday. Another 20,000 second doses were also added onto the cumulative total 

Nicola Sturgeon once again beat Mr Johnson to the punch by announcing Scotland was drawing up plans to dispense vaccines day and night, but she conceded that supplies were still 'relatively limited'.

Defence Secretary Ben Wallace said the Army can 'do more to assist'

Nicola Sturgeon once again beat Mr Johnson to the punch by announcing Scotland was drawing up plans to dispense vaccines day and night, but she conceded that supplies were still ‘relatively limited’.  Defence Secretary Ben Wallace said the Army can ‘do more to assist’

Members of the public arrive to receive their injection of a Covid-19 vaccine at the NHS vaccine centre that has been set up at the Centre for Life in Times Square, Newcastle

Members of the public arrive to receive their injection of a Covid-19 vaccine at the NHS vaccine centre that has been set up at the Centre for Life in Times Square, Newcastle

High St pharmacies won’t start dishing out Covid vaccines until Thursday

Britain’s High Street pharmacies won’t start dishing out coronavirus vaccines until Thursday, it was revealed today amid mounting pressure on Boris Johnson to launch round-the-clock inoculations.

Superdrug and Boots will only have one site ready to dish out vaccines when the roll-out is finally expanded later this week, with dozens more sites on standby to ramp up the lockdown-ending scheme in the coming weeks. 

Both chains — which have yet to receive any coronavirus vaccines — have dozens of stores that already offer the winter flu jab. 

No10 last week said jabs would be deployed from hundreds of independent chemists in a bid to deliver on Boris Johnson’s lofty promise of vaccinating 13million people and ending lockdown by mid-February.  

But amid reports of manufacturing and supply issues, small chains claim to have still not been contacted about getting involved, even though they have begged Downing Street to let them chip in, claiming they have the expertise and local knowledge to be able to dish out ‘millions’ of jabs. 

It comes as ministers last night pledged to offer everyone over 50 a Covid jab the end of April. Health Secretary Matt Hancock said mass vaccination was the only way out of the endless cycle of lockdowns.

The Government is also under growing pressure to launch a 24/7 operation, with the Government now in a ‘race against time’ to get jabs in arms.

‘We are absolutely working to make sure that we can get the vaccine to them but that means working with the JCVI.’

Labour’s deputy leader Angela Rayner today piled more pressure on Downing Street to make the vaccination scheme operate round-the-clock.

She said: ‘The British people have sacrificed so much, now the Government must deliver for the British people. The Prime Minister needs to use this lockdown to develop a round-the-clock vaccine programme, 24-hours a day, 7 days-a-week.’ 

The aim is for every Brit over the age of 50 to be offered a Covid jab by the end of April. 

But doubts have been raised about the target with numbers standing at around 2.8million as of yesterday, and there are also calls for frontline workers such as teachers and police officers to be pushed up the priority list.  

Ms Sturgeon was asked about implementing a 24-hour vaccination programme today as she confirmed that by Monday a total of 175,942 had received their first dose of vaccine.

She said: ‘We will look at anything and everything that allows us to get this vaccination programme done as quickly as possible’. 

Ms Sturgeon said supplies of the vaccine were still ‘relatively limited’, and that with the focus currently on getting jabs to care home residents and those aged over 80, these groups did ‘not lend themselves to out-of-hours vaccination’. 

Responding to John Healey, the Defence Secretary told the Commons: ‘We are of course, as he knows, incredibly keen and eager to offer whatever assistance we can.’

Mr Wallace added: ‘And of course, all members of the armed forces personnel are able to help the Government in its resilience and its defence – that is obviously the purpose of their job.’

On vaccinations, he continued: ‘Of course, I could deploy all 100,000 soldiers tomorrow ready to vaccinate but if the stock isn’t there then we’ll have people not… we could employ them better off.

‘So we are very, very keen in the Government, the Prime Minister is determined, to make sure that we match both the pace of stock delivery but also the pace of delivery into people’s arms – the jabbing.  

‘And we are very, very clear that we can do more to assist, the Prime Minister knows that and the Prime Minister has indicated that we will be called on as the NHS requires it.’

It came after desperate shift workers and teachers came forward today to say they would happily come day or night to get the coronavirus vaccine. 

Upset workers took to social media to blast the Prime Minister’s claim there was ‘no clamour’ for nighttime jabs.

One wrote: ‘I work shifts. I’m awake when most of the country is asleep. So, happy to have my vaccine anytime.’  

Desperate shift workers and teachers have come forward to say they would happily come day or night to get the coronavirus vaccine after Boris Johnson insisted there is no 'clamour' for appointments after 8pm

Desperate shift workers and teachers have come forward to say they would happily come day or night to get the coronavirus vaccine after Boris Johnson insisted there is no ‘clamour’ for appointments after 8pm

An aerial drone shows Tennis and Football Centre at the Etihad campus in Manchester, which is being used as a mass Covid vaccination centre

An aerial drone shows Tennis and Football Centre at the Etihad campus in Manchester, which is being used as a mass Covid vaccination centre

Dozens of elderly people queue outside Hornchurch library in the London Borough of Havering for their Covid-19 vaccine

Dozens of elderly people queue outside Hornchurch library in the London Borough of Havering for their Covid-19 vaccine

Minister have promised o dish out 2million jabs a week by the end of January through 2,700 centres dotted across the country. The map shows the sites that are currently up and running, including seven mass centres (green), more than 100 hospitals (blue), as well as GP practices and pharmacies (purple)

Minister have promised o dish out 2million jabs a week by the end of January through 2,700 centres dotted across the country. The map shows the sites that are currently up and running, including seven mass centres (green), more than 100 hospitals (blue), as well as GP practices and pharmacies (purple)

Desperate teachers and shift workers say they would ‘come day or night’ to get vaccine

Desperate shift workers and teachers have come forward to say they would happily come day or night to get the coronavirus vaccine after Boris Johnson insisted there is no ‘clamour’ for appointments after 8pm.  

Mr Johnson is facing growing pressure to launch round-the-clock vaccinations as ministers ‘race against time’ to get jabs in arms.

Labour has demanded the Government ‘sorts out’ a 24/7 operation despite No10’s claims there is no demand for evening appointments.  

Upset workers took to social media to blast the Prime Minister’s claim.

One wrote: ‘I work shifts. I’m awake when most of the country is asleep. So, happy to have my vaccine anytime.’ 

Another user, a teacher, said: ‘If this would speed things up and I’d not be taking a vaccine from someone more vulnerable I’d happily go anytime of day or night.

‘I’m a 60-year-old teacher working in school and scared for myself and my older vulnerable husband. Of course I’d go!’ 

Another Twitter user said: ‘I’d clamour at anytime of night! As a teacher I’m still in school during the day looking after key worker children so would love a vaccine and after 8pm would be perfect!

‘I’m pretty sure the rest of staff would agree. Sign us up!’

And another wrote: ‘They are doing this in New York and my teacher friends who are the same age as me (35) got their vaccine today. I’m a teacher also and absolutely no sign of a vaccine for me yet. 

‘I would take any vaccine at anytime to get back into the classroom!’ 

Tory MPs are urging ministers to ‘look carefully’ at whether the hours can be extended while some have said there is ‘no excuse why it shouldn’t be 24/7’.

The PM has promised that around 13million of the most vulnerable Britons will be vaccinated by mid-February.  

Another Twitter user wrote: ‘I work shifts so 9-5 time isn’t good for me, I would have the vaccine anytime.’ 

Another user, a teacher, said: ‘If this would speed things up and I’d not be taking a vaccine from someone more vulnerable I’d happily go anytime of day or night.

‘I’m a 60-year-old teacher working in school and scared for myself and my older vulnerable husband. Of course I’d go!’ 

Another Twitter user said: ‘I’d clamour at anytime of night! As a teacher I’m still in school during the day looking after key worker children so would love a vaccine and after 8pm would be perfect!

‘I’m pretty sure the rest of staff would agree. Sign us up!’

And another wrote: ‘They are doing this in New York and my teacher friends who are the same age as me (35) got their vaccine today. I’m a teacher also and absolutely no sign of a vaccine for me yet. 

‘I would take any vaccine at anytime to get back into the classroom!’ 

Tory MPs are urging ministers to ‘look carefully’ at whether the hours can be extended while some have said there is ‘no excuse why it shouldn’t be 24/7’. 

Another Twitter user wrote: ‘I work shifts so 9-5 time isn’t good for me, I would have the vaccine anytime.’

But while Health Secretary Matt Hancock said last night that the NHS will would do ‘whatever it takes’, he played down the prospect of a round-the clock operation, saying people will prefer to get jabs in the day.

And in the Commons, vaccines minister Nadhim Zahawi said it will not happen in the first phase, where the four most vulnerable groups are being targeted, because staff would end up ‘standing around waiting’. 

‘If we were to go to a 24-hour regime, it would be much harder to target the vaccine at those four cohorts,’ he said. 

‘Obviously, when we have limited vaccine volume, we do not want staff standing around waiting for people in centres that are open 24 hours. 

‘Also, many of those people are over 80, and we are going into care homes to vaccinate the residents of those homes. 

‘The decision to go from 8am to 8pm was made because we want to ensure that there is an even spread and very close targeting.’  

Former minister Steve Baker, a leader of the lockdown-sceptic CRG group of Tory MPs, told MailOnline the Government must ‘look carefully’ at extending the hours.

‘The sooner the vulnerable are vaccinated, the sooner we can end these destructive cycles of lockdowns and restrictions,’ he said. 

‘So the Government should look closely at all the practical problems of 24/7 operation and press forward with it if it would help meet necessary goals.’ 

Tory MP Henry Smith said the vaccine rollout seemed to be going well so far, adding: ‘There is no excuse why it shouldn’t be 24/7. This is a national emergency and every hour lost is damaging to our economy and our future and our finances and our health. 

‘We cannot lose a moment. I steer away from making international comparisons… but the fact that Israel has been able to vaccinate most of the population – it could be done faster.’ 

Another Tory MP suggested to MailOnline that the Government should soon look at extending opening hours to 6am and 10pm to increase the daily number of jabs.  

But they said ‘supply isn’t coming from the manufacturers in the quantities needed yet’ to move to extended opening hours. 

At a Downing Street briefing last night, Mr Hancock was asked about comments from the Prime Minister’s spokesman that there was not a ‘clamour’ for a 24/7 vaccination model.

He said: ‘We’ll do this if it’s needed, absolutely we will do whatever it takes to get this vaccine rolled out as fast as possible.

‘The thing is that if both the person doing the vaccination and the person being vaccinated would both prefer for that to happen in the middle of the day, rather than the middle of the night, then that’s probably when we should do it.’

He said there would be some groups where a 24/7 model may be the best approach but added: ‘Our attitude on the vaccine rollout is whatever it takes to do this as fast and safely possible.’

NHS England’s Professor Stephen Powis said that working through the day was the ‘most efficient’ use of staff and volunteers. 

Professor Powis added: ‘I’m sure for the vast majority of people they would prefer to have their vaccine during the day.

‘And the best use of our staff and volunteers… working through the day is the most efficient way of delivering the most vaccine.’

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