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UK PM Boris Johnson (AFP)
UK PM Boris Johnson (AFP)

Covid-19: UK PM Boris Johnson promises 24-hour vaccinations 'as soon as we can'

  • Johnson also said tougher restrictions brought in last week were starting to have an effect on the spread of COVID in some parts of the country
  • 'Nobody can doubt the serious damage that is done by lockdowns to people’s mental health, to jobs, to livelihoods,' he said

British Prime Minister Boris Johnson said on Wednesday the government would move to a 24-hour, 7-day a week vaccination programme as soon as it could, adding that at the moment there was a limit in supply of doses.

"We'll be going to 24/7 as soon as we can," he told parliament.

Johnson's announcement appears to contradict his own official spokesman, who told reporters earlier this week there is “no clamor" for appointments through the night. Mass vaccination centers are currently open from 8 a.m. to 8 p.m., 7 days a week.

AstraZeneca, manufacturer of the main vaccine being used in the inoculation drive, is "imminently" scaling up to release two million doses of its vaccine per week in Britain, the firm's chief executive said Wednesday.

"We're absolutely on track to do that and therefore deliver tens of millions of doses in the first quarter of the year," Tom Keith-Roach told parliament's Science and Technology Committee.

Britain has so far given vaccinations to around 2.4 million of its most vulnerable citizens, and the government has set a target of 15 million by the middle of next month.

The country has been one of the hardest hit globally by the pandemic, with more than 83,000 people losing their lives after testing positive for the virus.

It is currently mired in its third, and worst, wave of the virus, registering record daily case numbers and death tolls blamed on a new strain of the disease.

Johnson also said on tougher restrictions brought in last week were starting to have an effect on the spread of COVID in some parts of the country, cautioning that it was still early days.

"What we are now seeing, and it's very, very important to stress that these are early days, we are now seeing the beginnings of some signs that that is starting to have an effect in many parts of the country, but by no means everywhere and it is early days," he told parliament.

He also said he did not rule out bringing in even tougher restrictions to try to temper the spread of the coronavirus, which has largely been driven by a new variant.


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