There was a glimmer of optimism for Brits desperate for a much-needed summer holiday yesterday as the head of the NHS said they’re hopeful of immunising all 54million adults ahead of schedule.
Sir Simon Stevens said that 140 people a minute were now being given the jab, usually the first dose of two.
But he added that the NHS had never been in a more precarious position, with 75 per cent more Covid patients than at the April peak.
He went on to tell the BBC that that he is hopeful the country can ‘do faster’ with its Covid jabs programme, beating the target currently set for all adults to be immunised by the Autumn.
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Sir Simon told the BBC1 ’s The Andrew Marr Show that health workers will vaccinate as fast as possible to hit the target.
He said: “We want to go as fast as we possibly can.
“I suspect we will be able to have more vaccine supplies such that we may be able to do faster than that.”
Yesterday it was reported that Whitehall sources believed the target, of vaccinating five million people a week, could be achievable within months, according to The Telegraph.
The source reportedly said it was believed all 54million Brits over 18 will have been immunised by the end of June, adding: “It is delivery, delivery, delivery.”
Speaking to the BBC Sir Simon went on to warn that Brits cannot ease up on lockdown restrictions yet and he said the NHS was in the grip of the worst crisis in its history.
Sir Simon said: “Since Christmas Day we’ve seen another 15,000 increase in the inpatients in hospitals across England.
“That’s the equivalent of filling 30 hospitals full of coronavirus patients — and, staggeringly, every 30 seconds across England another patient is being admitted to hospital with coronavirus.”
But Brits can look forward to lockdown restrictions being eased gradually over the spring and summer.
He said: “It is not going to be the case that with one bound we are free. But equally I don’t think we will be having to wait until autumn. I think somewhere between those two.”
Despite the drive for mass immunisation the Foreign Secretary Dominic Raab cautioned against planning for the long-awaited summer holidays just yet.
He told LBC radio: “I think at the moment it’s too early, I think you have to follow the guidance that we’re putting out.”
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