Matt Hancock Says The Government ‘Will Not Rest’ Until All Vulnerable Groups Are Vaccinated

By Rachael Grealish

People aged 70 and over who have not yet had a COVID-19 vaccine, but would like one, can now call and ask for one, the Health Secretary has confirmed.

Speaking from Downing Street today, Monday February 8, Matt Hancock, is urging everyone who is eligible to get a COVID-19 vaccine.

It is two months to the day since the vaccination programme started and since then almost a quarter of all adults in the UK have now received their first dose of the COVID-19 vaccine.

That is just over 12.2 million (23.3 percent) of adults in the UK.

However Hancock said ‘we will not rest’ until all those in the most vulnerable groups are vaccinated.

Hancock added the government is ‘on track’ to meet its goal of vaccinating the first four priority groups by February 15.

He went of to say, originally, the government thought the vaccination programme would have a take-up rate of 75 percent, but said the take-up rate amongst over-80s has been 91 percent.

Among those aged 75 to 79, take-up is 95 percent and among those aged 70 to 74, almost three quarters have accepted the invitation to have a jab.

And among eligble care home residents, take-up is 93 percent, he said.

“Until now the NHS has asked people to wait to be invited to get a vaccination. But now that is changing,” the Secretary of State said.

“If people live in England, and are over 70 and have not been contacted, they should now contact the NHS to get an appointment.”

As the different variants of the virus are spreading globally Hancock said the vaccines ‘must keep pace’.

“We mustn’t let a new variant undo all of the good work that the vaccine rollout is doing,” he said.

“It is imperative that our vaccination programme keeps pace with any changes to this virus.”

He says three things about how the UK is tackling these variants:

  • ‘The existing vaccines have some effect against new variants, particularly preventing serious illness and death’
  • ‘We’re working with vaccine suppliers for potential booster jabs targeted at the new variants’
  • ‘We’re building on-shore UK capacity and technology to develop and deploy vaccines in the future’

Along with this the Health Secretary said the UK is joining up with a company based in Derby, who will make 20 million rapid tests that will be used in the government’s asymptomatic testing programme.

He said it means more regular testing can be offered – including by employers for their staff and said from today, workplace testing will be offered to all businesses with over 50 employees.

COVID-19 Round Up:

  • The UK has recorded 333 further deaths – its lowest daily total for more than six weeks. Reported deaths are always low on a Monday, because some figures do not get processed at the weekend, but the daily total has not been this low since Sunday 27 December, when it was 317. The total number of deaths over the last seven days is 22.4 percent down on the previous week.
  • The UK has recorded 14,104 further Covid cases – its lowest daily total for almost nine weeks. The daily total has not been this low since Tuesday 8 December, when 12,282 new cases were recorded.
  • The number of patients in hospital on Thursday in the UK with Covid was 29,326 – its first day below 30,000 for more than a month. Thursday is the most recent day for which a figure is available on the dashboard. The last time hospital numbers were this low was Sunday January 3, when 29,009 Covid patients were in hospital.
  • There were 278,988 people in the UK who received their first dose of a vaccine on Sunday. On Saturday the figure was 549,808
  • So far, over 100,000 people in Cumbria have received their first vaccine dose.