NHS Providers hails tremendous achievement of vaccination programme

14 February 2021

Responding to news that the government has achieved its target of offering a vaccine to everyone in the most vulnerable groups by its 15 February deadline, the chief executive of NHS Providers, Chris Hopson, said:

"This is a tremendous achievement. When Margaret Keenan became the first person in the world to receive the Pfizer-BioNTech vaccination outside a clinical trial on 8 December, no one could have anticipated that within 10 weeks, the UK would have made such huge strides in protecting the most vulnerable groups in the population.

"We owe much of this success to the role that trusts, working with colleagues in primary care, and with the fantastic support of volunteers, have played in immunising so many people, so efficiently.

"We pay particular tribute to the amazing efforts of dedicated frontline staff who, despite having faced the most challenging year in the NHS' 72 year history, have responded magnificently in delivering these vaccines to so many people so quickly.

"The government has set another ambitious target for the vaccine to be offered to priority groups 1-9, as set out by the Joint Committee on Vaccination and Immunisation by May.

"The NHS stands ready to deliver this challenge, which will take us one step closer to resuming our normal lives.

"But whilst today's news is a hugely positive development, we must not let down our guard in our fight against the virus. There is still a lot to understand before we can be wholly certain of the impact of the vaccination programme.

"The pandemic has already taken over 100,000 UK lives and it has the potential to destroy many more. And we need to be alert to the risk from other new mutations now in circulation.

"We must all remain vigilant and follow the lockdown rules restricting social contact. We must also be very careful about relaxing those rules prematurely. This will prevent unnecessary deaths, reduce patient harm, and help ensure the NHS can care for all patients, COVID and non-COVID alike."

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