In Brief

Who will be next to get the coronavirus vaccine?

NHS told to target high-risk demographics in next phase of jab rollout

Men, obese people, high-risk workers and ethnic minorities should be encouraged to get their jab in the next phase of the vaccine rollout, government experts have said.

The Joint Committee on Vaccination and Immunisation (JCVI) yesterday told the NHS that it should “proactively encourage take-up of the jab in these groups, due to their heightened risk from Covid”, The Telegraph reports.

However, “despite the increased danger”, the JCVI also said that it “would not prioritise individual groups”, instead focusing on an “age-based rollout, with people aged 45 to 49 now being invited to come forward” in the next stage, the paper adds.

The committee said that it “strongly advises that individuals in these groups promptly take up the offer of vaccination when they are offered”, adding that “deployment teams should utilise their understanding of local health systems and demographics… to promote vaccination in these groups”.

“Unvaccinated individuals who are at increased risk of severe outcomes from Covid-19 on account of their occupation, male sex, obesity or ethnic background are likely to be vaccinated most rapidly by an operationally simple vaccine strategy,” it added.

The NHS website yesterday crashed as 45- to 49-year-olds began booking their appointments. Nadhim Zahawi, the vaccines deployment minister, said the problem had been “fixed” after “an early morning scramble” for bookings, The Times says.

“Some people aged 45 to 49 are likely to have to wait until later in the month” to receive their first dose, the paper adds, due “to supply problems as vaccination centres prioritise second doses in April”.

According to Oxford University tracking, the UK has so far administered 39.85 million vaccines, meaning 58.7 per 100 people have received at least one dose. 

The first stages of the vaccine rollout covered 95% of people over 50, an age group that made up 99% of coronavirus deaths and 85% of hospitalisations.

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