London will be the first to open up 24-7 vaccination centres in the country, it was announced today.
In a pilot scheme to be launched this month at hospitals in the capital, jabs will be given 24 hours a day, seven days a week.
NHS staff who work shifts are expected to be the main users of the service, while elderly and vulnerable people will continue to be offered daytime appointments at centres springing up across the city.
“We are going to pilot the 24-hour vaccination … in hospitals in London and we will look at how we expand that,” said Vaccinations Minister Nadhim Zahawi.
Zahawi said the results from Israel gave hope that UK deaths and illnesses will be down enough in February to allow lockdown restrictions to be “gradually lifted”.
“So, two weeks after mid-February, we should be seeing a marked reduction in death and of course serious illness,” he told ITV. “We begin to gradually reopen and schools will be a priority.”
On the threat to BAME families, Mr Khan said during a visit to the Wembley centre: “Whilst thousands of Londoners have now had the vaccine, I am aware that there is a lot of dangerous misinformation about vaccines and that there are concerns among some people from BAME backgrounds about getting the vaccine.
“My message to those Londoners who are hesitant about getting a vaccine, is that this vaccine is safe. It has been thoroughly tested to meet the very highest standards, it works and will save lives.”