According to leaked documents (dated 13.11.2020), the NHS plan for the Covid-19 vaccine rollout will see the whole adult population of England able to begin receiving it before the end of January, 2021. This is according to the much respected Health Service Journal (HSJ),
Under this plan, everyone who wants to would have been vaccinated by early April, 2021.
The HSJ says it has seen NHS England’s draft Covid-19 vaccine deployment programme. This plan reveals when each cohort is likely to begin receiving it, based on its plans to create huge capacity across GP-run facilities, large scale mass vaccination sites, NHS trusts, and roving schemes for those who cannot travel.
The programme relies on a range of assumptions including that there will be 75 per cent take-up, outside of residential settings like care homes and prisons, where 100 per cent is expected.
The plan also relies on supplies, including more than 7 million doses being available in December. Most doses are due to be administered between early January and mid-March — at a rate of 4-5 million every week.
The programme starts with care home residents, social care workers and healthcare workers at the beginning of December. It states that there is uncertainty about whether government will decide if unpaid carers are included in the care worker cohort — if so, it would add more than 5 million people to this priority group.
The plan would see vaccination of all priority cohorts completed by the end of February, with everyone who wants it in the English over-18s population vaccinated by April.
The dates proposed for beginning each group are:
- Care home residents and staff, healthcare workers -from beginning of December
- Ages 80 plus- from mid-December
- Everyone aged 70-80- from late December
- Everyone aged 65-70- from early January
- All high and moderate risk under 65s- from early January
- Everyone aged 50-65- from mid-January
- Everyone aged 18-50- from late January – but with the bulk of this group vaccinated during March.
This plan would see 88.5 million vaccination doses delivered across England, with two doses per person over the age of 18, by the end of April. The doses must be given 28 days apart, for both the Pfizer/BioNTech vaccine (known in the planning documents by the codename Courageous) and the Oxford/AstraZeneca vaccine (known by the name Talent).
The document outlines the huge capacity to administer doses. The biggest total — 33.9 million — are due to be done at community mass vaccination sites, of which GPs have been asked to establish about one in each primary care network (around 1,000 nationally). However, only 6 million fewer — 27.7 million — are pencilled in for large scale mass vaccination centres, of which there are expected to be around 40-50 across England in conference centres, stadiums and similar venues.
Additionally, nearly 2 million would be delivered by NHS trusts to their staff (between December and mid-January), and roving teams would deliver 3.5 million to care homes, people who are housebound, and detainees.
Vaccination large scale and community centres (including those operated by primary care) will be operational seven days a week, 12 hours per day.
The plan also states that: ‘Eligible individuals will be able to book a vaccine at any available vaccination site of their choice irrespective of distance from their home address.’