Update from Sir Mike Penning MP

The vaccine breakthrough is the big success story of this whole coronavirus saga and I urge everyone to get vaccinated when they get called. I will certainly be getting vaccinated when my turn comes.

We owe a massive debt of thanks to all of the scientists, volunteers, logistical experts and NHS staff involved in developing and rolling out this vaccine in record time.

The UK has secured 40 million doses of the Pfizer/BioNTech vaccine, with an initial 800,000 available from day one and thanks to the work of the Vaccine Taskforce, the UK has built one of the largest and most varied vaccine portfolios in the world and I am proud that the UK was the first country to begin vaccinating people.

Vaccination began with those in the most at-risk groups, in particular Covid-facing healthcare workers in our hospitals, care home residents and their carers, all those over 80, and other frontline health and social care workers. It is going to be an enormous logistical challenge to roll this out to everyone. The NHS will let you know when it’s your turn to have the vaccine.

I do understand that some people are worried that the vaccine has been rushed out. The truth is that all the agencies involved have been working together with an unprecedented level of cooperation to ensure speedy approval by the Medicines and Healthcare products Regulatory Agency. Where possible the stages of the approval process have been running concurrently and there has been not downtime between stages.

The start of the vaccination programme does give us hope, but the battle is not yet over. We absolutely must continue to follow the guidelines and keep to the covid-safety rules and do what we can to control the spread of the virus until the vaccine begins to take effect.

We have invested so much in battling this virus, we must not throw all that away at the last minute.

Remember the NHS will let you know when it’s your turn to have the vaccine, do not contact the NHS for a vaccination before then.

You can find out more on the NHS website


*Sir Mike is pictured with letters from children at a local primary school who wrote in support of a clean water campaign.

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