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COVID vaccination: Doubts about Government’s ability to deliver grow amid fears lockdown will stretch past spring

Matt Hancock has called the plans the 'best-case scenro'

Faith in the government‘s COVID vaccination programme appears to be waning after Matt Hancock called Boris Johnson‘s ambitions the “best-case scenario”.

The health secretary played down the PM’s plan to vaccinate 13 million of the most vulnerable Brits by mid-February.

The plans were laid out by Johnson over the weekend when he plunged England into its third full lockdown.

The only way out is through the COVID vaccination programme, but now fears are growing that lockdown will extend past spring after a string of bad news surrounding the jabs surfaced.

someone getting covid jab
The COVID vaccination drive is underway but Matt Hancock has cast doubt on the government’s ability to deliver (Credit: Piroschka van de Wouw/AP/Shutterstock)

What’s been said about the COVID vaccination programme?

Matt Hancock is said to have spoken to MPs via Zoom yesterday (January 5).

During the call, he cast doubt on the government’s ability to deliver all 13 million jabs by February half term, as Boris had set out.

Read more: Michael Gove warns of ‘very, very difficult’ weeks ahead for Brits

According to the Daily Mail, an MP on the call revealed: “He emphasised that the prospect of the vulnerable being vaccinated by mid-February was a best-case scenario. It was heavily caveated.

“He set out plenty of reasons why it might not happen by then and left himself plenty of wriggle room. It was very much an aspiration and there were no guarantees. I fear that they have not got the vaccine in sufficient quantities.”

He set out plenty of reasons why it might not happen by then.

The unnamed MP added: “He said two million doses of the Oxford vaccine would arrive this week for use next week. They should have been stockpiling. The rollout needs to happen as fast as possible. It’s the only chance we’ve got.”

boris johnson wearing a poppy
Boris Johnson set out plans to vaccinate 13 million people by mid-February (Credit: Splash News)

So what other bad news has emerged?

Hancock’s comments come amid a raft of other bad news surrounding the vaccine.

Read more: Outrage as airport testing will only be mandatory ‘for some’

It’s been reported that small high street chemists are keen to help vaccinate the public.

They said pharmacists could help to deliver a million vaccinations a week.

However, this offer has reportedly been snubbed by the government.

doctor holding an injection
An offer by high street chemists to deliver the jab has reportedly been snubbed (Credit: Pexels)

What else has happened?

Leaked documents by Public Health England also reveal more bad news.

It’s said PHE has “decided not to work on Sundays” to deliver the coronavirus vaccination to GPs and NHS hospitals.

Guidance to NHS trusts has apparently warned that deliveries won’t be made on Sundays and, during the week, there will be a lunchtime cutoff for deliveries.

The triple whammy of bad news come as Chris Whitty warned that the country could still be under COVID restrictions next winter if the vaccination drive isn’t effective enough.

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