Less than half of Brits 'expected to be fully vaccinated against Covid-19 next year'

Less than half of Brits 'expected to be fully vaccinated against Covid-19 next year'

ONLY half of Brits in England are expected to be fully vaccinated against Covid next year, it has been revealed.

Health bosses reckon they can get the double jab into the arms of 25 million people over the next 12 months, the spending watchdog said.

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This would still leave 30 million people in England without being fully inoculated to the bug, the National Audit Office said.

They also revealed that sports stadiums could be used as vaccination centres to get the miracle jab out quickly.

Mobile testing sites and “roving units” will also be sent into Covid hotspots like care homes.

The NAO praised ministers for acting at lightning speed to snap up lots of different potential vaccines.

This will offer Brits the best chance of exiting the pandemic and being able to lead a normal life once again.

VACCINE PLAN IN DOUBT

The Covid vaccination programme is set to cost £11.7billion, the report found.

And taxpayers will have to foot the vast majority of the bill even if vaccines do not end up being used, the watchdog said.

Gareth Davies, the head of the NAO, said: "Developing and securing an effective vaccine is central to reducing the impact of Covid-19 on society and saving lives.

“Government has worked quickly and effectively to secure access to potential vaccines, using the available information to make big decisions in an inherently uncertain environment.”

Labour MP Meg Hillier, boss of the Committee of Public Accounts, said: “Scientists and the regulator have done phenomenal work, achieving a breakthrough that would normally take at least a decade in less than a year.

“It was clearly right to back a number of horses – nobody could have known which vaccines would work, or when they might be approved.

“But the accountability arrangements were highly unusual – even though huge sums of money are involved.”

She added: “We aren’t over the finish line yet, and the vaccination programme must not fall at the last hurdle.”

The NHS said that it can ramp up the number of vaccines rolled out next year if more pass safety tests.

They insisted they have not set a ceiling of only jabbing 25 million Brits and expect this number to be scaled up.

An NHS spokesman said: “The coronavirus vaccination programme is the biggest and most ambitious in NHS’ history and despite the huge logistical challenges, the NHS successfully began vaccinating people as soon as it was possible, as we committed to.

“The programme is off to a very strong start, with people from the highest priority groups now being vaccinated by GPs nurses and hospitals, and the NHS stands ready to deploy further vaccines in the New Year if and when they are approved by the independent regulator.”

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