Boris Johnson says 'most vulnerable' will be prioritised for Covid vaccine roll-out

Amy Jones
·3-min read
Boris Johnson said that 'clearly the priority for a vaccine will be those who are the most vulnerable groups' - Hannah McKay/Reuters
Boris Johnson said that 'clearly the priority for a vaccine will be those who are the most vulnerable groups' - Hannah McKay/Reuters
Coronavirus Article Bar with counter ..
Coronavirus Article Bar with counter ..

Boris Johnson has announced that Britain's most vulnerable people will be prioritised when a vaccine for coronavirus is rolled out amid fears that less than half of the population will receive one.

The Prime Minister said scientists at the University of Oxford  were "on the verge" of creating a successful vaccine and insisted those most at risk will receive it first.

He told reporters on Monday: "Obviously, if and when we get a vaccine then the crucial thing would be to ensure that we have sufficient supplies in this country, that we're able to make it in this country, distribute it fast in this country, and clearly the priority for a vaccine will be those who are the most vulnerable groups."

The vaccine candidate developed by Oxford scientists in collaboration with the pharmaceutical giant AstraZeneca is thought to be the furthest along in the process of trials, and Mr Johnson said it felt as if "they must be on the verge of it, but it's got to be properly tested".

Scorecard: The Oxford Vaccine
Scorecard: The Oxford Vaccine

It comes after the head of the Government's vaccine task force warned that the British public had a "misguided" perception of the programme's aims and suggested that fewer than one in two would be inoculated.

Kate Bingham said the Government planned to vaccinate around 30 million people out of the UK’s 67 million population if a successful jab is found, telling the Financial Times: "People keep talking about 'time to vaccinate the whole population', but that is misguided.

"There's going to be no vaccination of people under 18. It's an adult-only vaccine, for people over 50, focusing on health workers and care home workers and the vulnerable."

Downing Street said there was an "enormous amount of planning and preparation in place" for the distribution of a vaccine.

"The priority will be the most vulnerable groups and we take advice from the independent Joint Committee on Vaccination and Immunisation (JCVI) on which groups should get the vaccine, based on these factors, and we keep it under review," the Prime Minister's official spokesman said.

"We have secured early access to over 360 million vaccine doses through the agreements that we have with several separate vaccine developers at various stages of the trials.

"We have invested over £140 million into manufacturing any successful vaccine, so there is an enormous amount of planning and preparation in place across Government to be able to quickly roll out the vaccine."

Downing Street said it would be taking advice from JCVI on who receives the vaccine.

"At the moment the priority list they have set out is based on preliminary information about the vaccines in development and we keep it under review," the spokesman said.

In September, the JCVI published a draft list showing who is likely to be at the front of the queue for a jab when a coronavirus vaccine is approved in the UK. The list named older adults in care homes and care home workers as the first group, followed by those aged over 80, over 75, over 70 and over 65.