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The NHS is planning to roll out the coronavirus vaccine to under 50s by the end of January, it has been reported.
Under the plan everyone in England who wants to would have been vaccinated by early April.
Two Covid vaccines have already been proven to be effective but still need to pass safety tests before they are rolled out to the public.
And a third, produced by Oxford/AstraZeneca, this week reported good news about its effectiveness among the elderly.
As healthcare is devolved the NHS services in Wales, Scotland and Northern Ireland will be creating their own plans.
It is hoped in England that the elderly and most at risk could get a jab before Christmas.
There is worldwide demand for a vaccine that could see the end of the pandemic
(Image: POOL/AFP via Getty Images)
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But the Health Service Journal has seen leaked documents which say the whole adult population could begin receiving a vaccine before the end of January.
The document is dated November 13 and was shared among some senior NHS regional leaders yesterday, the HSJ reports.
They report the document sets out when each population group would begin to receive the vaccine with cohorts running concurrently.
It starts with care home residents, social care workers and healthcare workers at the beginning of December, however there is still uncertainty in government if this includes unpaid carers.
There has been some encouraging vaccine news
(Image: Getty Images)
The plan would see all priority cohorts vaccinated by the end of February.
The HSJ reports that the dates pencilled in for beginning each group are:
- Care home residents and staff, healthcare workers – from beginning of December;
- Ages 80 plus – from mid-December;
- Everyone aged 70-80 – from late December;
- Everyone aged 65-70 – from early January;
- All high and moderate risk under 65s – from early January;
- Everyone aged 50-65 – from mid January; and
- Everyone aged 18-50 – from late January; but with the bulk of this group vaccinated during March.
The plan would see 88.5 million vaccination doses delivered across England, with two doses per person over the age of 18, by the end of April.
The document seen by the HSJ reportedly states that there is a huge capacity to administer doses with the biggest total, some 33.9m, to be done at "community mass vaccination sites".
"Large scale vaccination centres" will be responsible for distributing 27.7m doses of vaccine.
There is expected to be 40-50 of these across England at conference centres, stadiums and similar venues.
NHS England hopes all who want the vaccine could have it by early April
GPs have been asked to establish about one in each primary care network to a total of roughly 1,000 across all of England.
Vaccination large scale and community centres (including those operated by primary care) will be operational seven days a week, 12 hours per day.
The head of England's biggest NHS hospital trust has said in a "best-case scenario" it could take until April to vaccinate enough people to make a difference against Covid.
Dr David Rosser, University Hospitals Birmingham NHS Trust chief executive, said: "It's pretty clear vaccination is not going to appear en masse until probably the beginning of February at the earliest.
Chief Executive of the Q.E. hospital, David Rosser
(Image: BIRMINGHAM MAIL)
"It is encouraging, (that) there are signs we might have some vaccine to vaccinate care home residents and the most vulnerable before then.
"But the big truckloads of stuff is not going to come in before February – that seems pretty clear."
Around 25,000 people in the UK have so far participated in vaccine trials, and more than 310,000 have indicated their willingness to take part in clinical studies by signing up to the NHS vaccine research registry.
Kate Bingham, chairwoman of the Government's Vaccine Taskforce, said: "The recent news about progress on the search for a vaccine is enormously exciting for the whole world, but we must not take our focus off continuing the important research to work out which vaccines work best for different people to provide long-lasting, effective protection against Covid-19.
"Many vaccines are needed both here in the UK and globally, to ensure we can provide a safe and effective vaccine for the whole population.
"That's why the launch of this trial to establish the safety, effectiveness, and very importantly the durability, of the Janssen vaccines is so significant, and I would continue to encourage people to sign up to take part in vaccine trials."