The Oxford coronavirus vaccine will go to care home residents and staff first, the Health Secretary has said.
Writing exclusively for the Mirror, Matt Hancock said 2020 ‘can be a year of renewal’.
He said he was ‘determined’ care home residents and staff are ‘at the front of the queue’.
Mr Hancock wrote: “The approval of the Oxford vaccine is great news for everyone.
“It will protect people from this dreadful disease, starting with the most vulnerable.
“We know older people are more vulnerable and our wonderful NHS have been working hard, vaccinating thousands of care home residents with the existing Pfizer/BioNTech vaccine, including the Chelsea Pensioners.
“But the new Oxford vaccine is much better suited to reach all of our care homes – and I’m determined that care home residents and staff are at the front of the queue.
“So the NHS is providing an additional £10 per dose for all vaccines delivered in care homes in January – to support the roll out and underline the importance of getting this vital protection to where it is needed most.
“I’m proud that Britain is the first country in the world to authorise these vaccines, and I’m so grateful to NHS colleagues for the huge effort to vaccinate people as fast as possible, while also dealing with everything else they do in this difficult time.
“Even as we accelerate the roll out of vaccines, so too we must all play our part to control the spread of this vicious virus.
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“So I ask everyone to continue playing their part by following the rules, and protecting their loved ones with the basics of hands, face, space, and keeping social interaction to a minimum.
“That way we will get through this together, and 2021 can be a year of renewal.”
Everyone who wants a Covid-19 vaccination will be able to have one, the Health Secretary has said.
Earlier, Mr Hancock said the Oxford vaccine will give people protection against coronavirus after the first dose.
There will be 530,000 doses available for rollout in the UK from Monday, with millions due by the beginning of February, he said.
The UK has approved the new Covid-19 vaccine from Oxford University and AstraZeneca as millions more people were plunged into the toughest Tier 4 lockdown restrictions.
The jab, which has been described as a ‘game changer’, was given the green light by the Medicines and Healthcare products Regulatory Agency (MHRA).
Speaking in the Commons this afternoon, Mr Hancock said: “Today’s news means that everyone who wants one can get a vaccine,” he said.
“We already have 530,000 doses available to the UK from Monday, with millions due from AstraZeneca by the beginning of February.”
He continued: “The clinical advice is that the Oxford vaccine is best deployed as two doses up to 12 weeks apart.
“And the great news is people get protection after the first dose.
“This means we can accelerate the speed at which we can vaccinate people for the first 12 weeks before we return to deliver the second doses for that longer-term protection.”