The health secretary hopes the country is a matter of weeks away from a coronavirus mass vaccination programme.
Matt Hancock said this morning that although people cannot currently get a flu jab and Covid-19 vaccine on the same day, the NHS is working towards delivering ‘at scale’ the two together ‘within a matter of weeks’.
‘Normally 15 million people are vaccinated against flu. This year it will be 30 million – the biggest number in history,’ he told Sky News.
‘We hope that we will also have a Covid vaccination programme alongside that.
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‘It will be a huge effort, but I know that the NHS is up for it.’
He said there are ‘encouraging signs of hope’ from the AstraZeneca and Pfizer trials for a coronavirus vaccine.
Mr Hancock added there are signs of ‘cases starting to flatten’ as a result of the national lockdown in England.
He said a decision on how the country will exit lockdown will be made before the end of the month.
He wouldn’t say much about Christmas, but said the Government is working with the devolved nations in Northern Ireland, Scotland and Wales to get a UK-wide agreement.
‘We want to have a set of rules that are UK-wide, not least because people travel between different parts of the country,’ he said.
It comes after it was revealed dozens of mass vaccination sites will be set up across the country in the coming weeks.
GP surgeries are organising the first batch, which will involve using practices, community centres and village halls to administer the jabs to care workers and the elderly as soon as next month.
Then the NHS is establishing a series of much larger venues to inject millions of others once those at the top of the priority list have had the jabs.
It is thought to involve empty Nightingale hospitals, conference centres, sports arenas and drive-through testing centres.
The massive operation will start in the New Year, according to documents seen by the Health Service Journal.
And around 40,000 staff will be hired to help administer the vaccine, including trained medics, nurses, firefighters, police community support officers and even members of the Armed Forces.
The trained vaccination army will be supported by an additional 30,000-strong team from St John Ambulance.
NHS England aims to roll out 1 million jabs a day, with those over 80, care home residents and workers receiving the vaccine first.
Over 70s, over 60s, those with underlying conditions and then those over 50 will follow, according to a priority list officially revealed by the Government.
The order is yet to be decided for the rest of the population.
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