Care home workers were among the 137,000 who have been given COVID vaccines during the first week of the UK’s largest ever vaccination programme.
The majority of the Pfizer/BioNTech vaccines have been administered to the over 80s, care home workers and NHS staff at more than 70 sites across the UK during the programme. The first care home residents also began to receive their vaccines this week.
Health and Social Care Secretary Matt Hancock said: “Thanks to the hard work of the NHS across the UK, over 137,000 people have already received the first dose of the coronavirus vaccine.
“This is just the start and we will steadily expand our vaccination programme – ultimately helping everyone get back to normal life.”
The Department of Health and Social Care said the rate of vaccinations would increase over the coming weeks and months as more doses become available and the programme continues to expand.
Forty million doses of the Pfizer/BioNTech vaccine have been secured for the whole of the UK. In addition, rolling reviews on the Oxford/AstraZeneca and Moderna vaccines are underway and, if authorised by the MHRA, will mean there are more doses available.
The Nursing and Midwifery Council has extended its COVID-19 temporary register to support the vaccine roll-out.
Nursing and midwifery professionals whose registration lapsed between 1 March 2020 and 30 November 2020 are now able to join the NMC’s COVID-19 temporary register.
Chief Executive and Registrar for the Nursing and Midwifery Council, Andrea Sutcliffe CBE, said:
“As the COVID-19 vaccine programme begins and winter pressures increase, I’d like to thank all our permanent and temporary registered nursing and midwifery professionals working across the UK.
“We recognise there may be nurses, midwives and nursing associates with up-to-date skills and knowledge who have only very recently left the permanent register and may wish to come back to help contribute to this important, urgent work.
“I’m glad we’re supporting them to do that. We are encouraging them to re-join the permanent register if that’s possible, or we are enabling them to join our temporary emergency register instead so they can practise in the short-term.
“As we look to the future, we’ll continue to work closely with all our partners in health and social care across the four countries so we can help to ensure our nursing and midwifery professionals are properly supported and public safety is protected.”