More than 130,000 people received the Pfizer / BioNTech Covid-19 vaccine as part of the government’s vaccination program, one week after it started in the UK on 8 December 2020.
Nadhim Zahawi, the British minister responsible for distributing the Covid-19 vaccine, announced in a tweet that 137,897 people in total had been vaccinated in the first week of the program, calling it “a great start”.
“A great start to the vaccination program. It’s been 7 days and we’ve done: England: 108,000 Wales: 7,897 Northern Ireland: 4,000. Scotland: 18,000 United Kingdom Total 137,897. That number will increase as we have made hundreds of NCPs (primary care networks) operational, “Zahawi said in the tweet.
BBC News reported that people taking vaccines from general practitioners and nurses at community clinics were not included in the numbers tweeted by Zahawi and around 200 local vaccination clinics are expected to go live by the weekend.
Read also: India and UK launch virtual hub for vaccines
However, vaccination for UK resident nursing homes, the top priority group, has just started, the BBC says. The ultra-cold storage conditions required by the Pfizer / BioNTech vaccine mean that bulk storage would be difficult and the NHS is awaiting guidelines for the safe transportation of these vaccines to nursing homes. According to the UK government’s vaccination plan, nursing home residents and workers cared for by people over the age of 80 and frontline health and social workers are the first in line to receive Covid-19 vaccination.
Zahawi also said that the number of people receiving the shots is expected to increase in the coming days as hundreds of Primary Care Networks (PCNs) have been put into operation and that the government would publish weekly data on the number of vaccines administered from the following weeks to ensure transparency.
Also read: UK proposes tougher holiday guide as Covid-19 cases rise
Nearly 1.89 million people have been infected with Covid-19 and more than 64,000 people have died in the UK. The pandemic has put more than 34 million people under the toughest level 3 blockade in England, according to official figures.