Progress in vaccination programme welcome but we mustn't relax restrictions too quickly

18 January 2021

Responding to news that millions of people aged 70 and over and those clinically extremely vulnerable to COVID-19 will be invited to get their vaccinations from today as well as the opening of ten new large-scale vaccination centres, NHS Providers deputy chief executive Saffron Cordery said:

"The roll out of the next phase in the vaccination programme is another major milestone in our fight against COVID-19.

Having another 10 new large-scale vaccination centres opening this week takes us one step closer to getting this virus under control.

Saffron Cordery    Deputy Chief Executive

"Our ability to deliver 140 jabs a minute and four times faster than people are catching coronavirus is testament to the hard work and commitment of staff in NHS trusts who have been working in partnership with colleagues in primary care to deliver the vaccination programme. Having another 10 new large-scale vaccination centres opening this week takes us one step closer to getting this virus under control.

"But the pandemic is far from over.

"And it is absolutely accurate to say the NHS has never been in a more precarious situation in its 72 year history.

"Day after day, we have seen steep increases in the number of COVID-19 cases and the number of patients being admitted to hospital. The fact that a patient is being admitted to hospital every 30 seconds underlines the seriousness of the situation we find ourselves in.

"Rising admissions rates mean trust leaders are becoming increasingly concerned about ensuring there is enough capacity – in terms of beds and staff – to safeguard the quality of care for patients.

If we want the NHS to have the best possible chance of treating all the patients who need to be treated, we need to be incredibly careful about not relaxing restrictions too quickly.

Saffron Cordery    Deputy Chief Executive

"If we want the NHS to have the best possible chance of treating all the patients who need to be treated, we need to be incredibly careful about not relaxing restrictions too quickly. This is particularly risky given how COVID-19 is affecting different parts of the country at different rates.

"So we need to need to be absolutely certain that the NHS can cope before we start easing the lockdown rules. Relaxing too early risks triggering another outbreak which we simply couldn't cope with.

"Until then, it is vital that the public continues to follow the lockdown rules, which are key to reducing infection rates and in turn, admissions to hospital.

"This will prevent unnecessary deaths, reduce patient harm, and help ensure the NHS can care for all patients, COVID and non-COVID."

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