United Kingdom

Tony Blair calls for 600,000 people to be vaccinated EVERY DAY to end Covid-19 restrictions by May 

Tony Blair has called for 600,000 vaccinations to be carried out each day to enable almost all Covid restrictions to be lifted by mid-May, four months earlier than currently planned.

The former prime minister said an accelerated rollout, as vaccine production is stepped up, could see the country move back to Tier Three restrictions in late February and Tier One as soon as early April. 

Most remaining restrictions could be lifted as soon as around 70 per cent of adults have been vaccinated – mid-May under Mr Blair's plans.

Tony Blair has called for 600,000 vaccinations to be carried out each day to enable almost all Covid restrictions to be lifted by mid-May

The accelerated rollout could also save 3,000 extra lives and around £50billion in lost economic activity, says a report by the Tony Blair Institute. 

The intervention comes amid growing concern that Britain's vaccine roll-out is slowing down and that the pledge to vaccinate the most vulnerable by mid-February is under threat.

The report by the Tony Blair Institute said that with rates of manufacture set to grow rapidly in coming weeks, new modelling shows just how much there is to gain if the UK can be ready for accelerated rollout.

It lays out plans for an accelerated rollout plan which would grow to average 600,000 vaccines per day in March.

The plans include working with manufacturers to speed up production as well as opening more vaccine centres.

In the foreword, Mr Blair said: 'The UK government is ramping up vaccination, and this is excellent news. There is acceptance that the only constraint should be the supply of vaccines.

The intervention comes amid growing concern that Britain's vaccine roll-out is slowing down

'This paper shows what the path back to normality might look like and the difference that accelerating the vaccination programme would make.

'It is this which is imposing huge urgency and a scramble for vaccines worldwide. The faster we vaccinate, the sooner we end lockdown and prevent further mutations.'

The Institute said it would be possible to manufacture 600,000 doses within weeks.

And it said that on distribution, Israel has shown what is possible, vaccinating 1 per cent of its population every day since the start of 2021 - equivalent to almost 700,000 per day for the UK.

The author of the report, TBI UK Policy Director Ian Mulheirn said: 'The current pace of rollout is an impressive operational achievement by the NHS. But the economic, social and health damage being done by the restrictions required to keep the new strain of the virus under control is severe.

'This paper maps out paths back to normality under both current and accelerated vaccine rollout plans. We show that life could be largely back to normal by mid-May if the accelerated rollout is achieved - four months faster than current plans would allow.

'Our analysis is not intended as criticism of the programme to date, but an illustration of the prize if we succeed in speeding up that distribution. If rates of supply allow, we should do everything possible to speed up the vaccination rollout. If the government can find ways to accelerate supply, it will pay dividends in lives saved and economic growth.'

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