Former prime minister Tony Blair today said the UK needs to dramatically accelerate its coronavirus vaccination programme in order to lift lockdown rules in the spring.
Claiming ‘it’s not complicated’ on live TV this morning as he launched a ‘blue-print’ for improving the country’s vaccine roll-out, Mr Blair suggested restrictions could ease ‘significantly’ in February if the NHS scales up to millions of jabs every week.
As supplies flow into the country in the coming weeks, Mr Blair said, officials should strain every sinew to make sure every dose is used as soon as possible. He said there should be pop-up vaccine centres and mobile ones, that pharmacies should be used, and volunteers recruited en masse.
Polling stations, pubs and offices should be used as hubs and supplies could provide as many as three million doses per week by the end of February, the Tony Blair Institute for Global Change said in a report.
By the end of February, the institute claims that half the population could have had the first dose of a vaccine to protect them from Covid-19. Britain has only pledged to vaccinate 13million of the most vulnerable residents by the middle of next month.
Mr. Blair has become involved in the vaccine policy after he was the first to publicly suggest restricting jabs to one dose to begin with and stretching them further, avoiding holding back supplies to ensure people get a second one. This has since become the official policy of the Government’s roll-out.
Questions are already being asked about why Israel has been able to leap ahead in the global vaccine race — with nearly a sixth of the 8.7million population immunised against Covid-19 in less than three weeks — while little over a million Brits have had a jab.
Mr. Blair’s comments came as a GP on the frontline of Britain’s coronavirus vaccine push revealed doctors have still not received doses that were supposed to arrive last month, amid fears Boris Johnson has over-promised with his pledge to jab 13million Brits and end lockdown by March.
D.r Rosemary Leonard, an NHS family doctor who works in South London, said her practices were ‘raring to go’ and had been waiting on their first batch of vaccinations since December 28. But she claimed the delivery date has been pushed back three times already, with the first doses now not due to arrive until January 15, more than a fortnight late. Read Full Article >