Labour’s shadow Health Secretary Jon Ashworth said the target should be doubled, to complete the whole first round of the vaccination programme. Speaking on BBC Question Time, Mr Ashworth said: “I think the government will meet this target, everyone I’ve spoken to who understands what’s happening with vaccination seems to think they will meet this target.”
Host Fiona Bruce asked: “So the government’s doing well?”
The Labour MP continued: “I think the government needs to go faster and further.
“There is no question that everyone who’s been involved in the distribution of the vaccine in the last couple of weeks – our GP, our NHS staff, those who have been working on the logistics.
“We always forget about the people who work on logistics, let’s thank them as well – and I think the task force that has made the choices of which vaccines to purchase, yes, have done a good job.
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“So I think they will meet that target, but they need to go further and faster. Because if we were able to vaccinate just under 30 million people, we would reduce hospitalizations and deaths by 99 percent, and we should be targeting that now.”
So far, more than three million vaccines hae been administered, Health Secretary Matt Hancock confirmed on Thursday.
Boris Johnson has said the NHS will launch a round-the-clock vaccination service as soon as possible.
The Prime Minister said the process of protecting people from coronavirus was already going “exceptionally fast” but “at the moment the limit is on supply” of the vaccine.
Labour leader Sir Keir Starmer said he understood that pilot 24-hour centres were not yet open to the public but there would be a “huge clamour”.
Mr Hancock earlier questioned whether there would be demand for a round-the-clock vaccination operation.
He said the NHS was “absolutely up for doing that” but “most people want to get vaccinated in the daytime, and also most people who are doing the vaccinations want to give them in the daytime, but there may be circumstances in which that would help”.