GPs will start booking Covid-19 vaccination appointments within days when doses of the new shot come in.
Details of the next phase of the staggered rollout emerged when Prof. Chris Whitty said the social distance restrictions could be lifted once 20 million vulnerable Britons have been vaccinated.
The elderly and nursing home workers will receive a letter from next week to get their injection at GP practices, after hospitals started the historic vaccination program this week.
The UK Chief Medical Officer’s comments as evidence to MPs offered hope of a return to normalcy ahead of the spring reports the mirror. The NHS has been advised that 1.2 million or 1.6 million additional doses will arrive next week, on top of 800,000 doses this week.
The rest of the first four million doses for December will come the following week.
It came as “significant” reactions detected in two people who had the Pfizer shot, who stopped all vaccinations yesterday (Wednesday) in people with a history of allergic reactions.
Prof. Whitty was asked by MPs about the Joint Coronavirus: Lessons Learned study when vaccinations could make it possible to lift social distance restrictions.
He said, “This disease is very predictably much more dangerous than for the elderly and those with pre-existing health problems.
“Once we go through that initial list, which brings us back to about 20 million people, there will be wider choices about where to go from that point on. These are important ethical and political choices as well as clinical choices.
“Once you’ve got that far, I think, a conversation about what we want to do now becomes a very important conversation.”
Prof Whitty suggested that this point probably wouldn’t come until the busy January and February period for the NHS is over.
He said, “I think very few people would recommend actually removing things during a high-risk time of the year that will always be winter for respiratory infections.
“I want to be very clear because we won’t have enough protection for the next three months.”
Prof Whitty said “three out of four” vaccines should be available next year if “wider choices” are to be made about who gets them.
If most of the 20 million people most at risk were vaccinated, many younger Britons would still get the virus and develop Long Covid if they end social distance. Permanent side effects can include brain fog, fatigue, muscle pain, shortness of breath and lung damage.
Prof Whitty added, “It will still lead to many people becoming ill with it and in some cases can have serious consequences.”