United Kingdom

Coronavirus UK: Matt Hancock says 3m vaccines have been administered

Three million Covid vaccines have now been administered in Britain, Matt Hancock revealed today. 

The Health Secretary tweeted that he was 'delighted' with the news, adding: 'We're accelerating the Covid vaccine roll-out across the UK.'

It comes after it was revealed GPs will be offered a £30 bonus for every care home resident they vaccinate before the end of the week. 

GP-led hubs administering the vaccine will be granted a cash incentive in hope of speeding up the roll-out of jabs in care homes. 

NHS bosses told family doctors it 'expects' care home residents and staff in England to be vaccinated by the end of this week, or by January 24 'at the latest'.  

Matt Hancock tweeted that he was 'delighted' with the news: 'We're accelerating the Covid vaccine roll-out across the UK'

There are currently 300,000 care home residents and 500,000 residential carers in the UK.

And every 20 vaccinations given to older care home residents may save one death, according to the Joint Committee on Vaccination and Immunisation (JCVI). 

Care home residents top the list which sets out nine categories of those most at risk. The next category include over 80s and all frontline health and care workers.

The NHS England letter to GPs revealed that the rate will return to £10 per dose after January 24. 

Professor Martin Green, chief executive of Care England, welcomed the 'excellent' news and called on care home staff to be prioritised too.

Vic Rayner, executive director of the National Care Sector, added: 'Communication and planning between GPs, care homes, residents and their relatives will be fundamental to ensuring that everyone who so desperately needs this vaccine can take up their rightful place at the front of the queue.' 

The Government aims to have the top four priority groups – including care home residents and their carers, frontline health and social care staff and all those over the age of 70 – offered their first jab by mid-February. 

It comes after it was revealed people previously infected with coronavirus have more protection against reinfection five months later than people getting the Oxford vaccine, and the same level of immunity that is provided by the Pfizer jab. 

Data from PHE's SIREN study, which follows more than 20,000 healthcare workers at more than 100 sites across Britain, looked at how many members of NHS staff in the study group caught the virus more than once.  

It comes as it was revealed people previously infected with the coronavirus have more protection against reinfection five months later than people getting the Oxford vaccine, and the same level of immunity that is provided by the Pfizer jab 

A total of 6,614 workers were found to have had the virus in early 2020, either through antibody testing, PCR swabs or clinical evaluation based on symptoms. 

Just 44 people from this group later tested positive for the coronavirus as a result of reinfection. 

PHE scientists say this means previous infection confers 83 per cent protection against reinfection, and also reduces the likelihood of developing symptoms and severe disease.  

Meanwhile, England could escape tougher lockdown measures for now after science chief Patrick Vallance suggested the current measures are 'enough' to control the mutant Covid strain and Neil Ferguson pointed to a 'plateau' in hospital admissions.

Boris Johnson is set to hold off tightening the rules despite soaring deaths and Nicola Sturgeon imposing extra curbs in Scotland, as a heat map of the country's outbreak suggests the situation is starting to improve.

After the UK recorded its deadliest toll yet with 1,564 victims, Sir Patrick warned last night that the UK is in for a 'pretty grim period' as deaths will not fall for 'some weeks'.

But he also indicated that the case rate was more encouraging, with a run of four days of week-on-week falls. Government data show many areas of England turned 'green' in the week to January 8, meaning cases are dipping - although there are also worrying 'hotspots' such as parts of the North West.

Sir Patrick said: 'I think what we know now, which we didn't know a few weeks ago, was would these sorts of restrictions be enough to bring this virus under control with the new variant? And the answer is yes, it looks like it is, and things are at least flattening off in some places, not everywhere.'

Professor Ferguson - whose modelling is reputed to have triggered the first lockdown in March - said this morning that the growth rate was slowing nationally, and in some NHS regions there were 'signs of plateauing'.

Boris Johnson warns a THIRD Covid strain could be heading to the UK 

Boris Johnson has claimed No10 is 'taking steps' to protect the UK from a Brazilian Covid variant which experts fear is similar to the highly contagious Kent and South African strains.

The Prime Minister revealed officials were looking at ways to stop the variant found in travellers from Brazil arriving in Tokyo, Japan — but dodged questions about whether Britain would adopt a travel ban. 

Speaking to MPs, he said: 'We are concerned about the new Brazilian variant.

'We already have tough measures, as you know, to stop from new infections come from abroad. We are taking steps to do that in response to the Brazilian variation.'

Scientists working in Britain have not yet announced any coronavirus cases caused by the variant on UK soil.

It is normal for viruses to mutate and early signs don't suggest that any of the new variants of coronavirus are more deadly than others, but in some places it is evolving to be able to spread faster.

If the virus is faster spreading it will inevitably lead to more cases which will in turn lead to a higher death count, even if the strain itself isn't more dangerous.

The variant that emerged in Kent, now estimated to be around 56 per cent more transmissible than its predecessor, has quickly become the dominant form of the virus in England and has led to the country's longest and toughest lockdown since March 2020.

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