An upbeat Mr Johnson Sr told the PA news agency that he will ‘certainly go and be vaccinated’ and intends to ‘encourage others to do so’.
‘Of course I am – I welcome the opportunity if my name crops up … I shall certainly go and be vaccinated,’ the PM’s father said. ‘I shall encourage others to do so.’
He added: ‘I’m all for it.’ It came just a day before the UK embarked on the biggest-ever mass immunisation programme in its history, on what has been dubbed ‘V-Day’.
Fifty hospitals are geared up to start administering vaccinations from tomorrow morning, with over-80s, care home staff and NHS workers deemed at higher risk temporarily at the front of the queue for the mammoth operation.
Officials hope that mass vaccination and the roll-out of millions of doses of breakthrough jabs will spell the beginning of the end of the pandemic.
No10 said that the PM is encouraging all eligible people to receive a Covid-19 vaccine, when asked whether his father should take it.
His press secretary Allegra Stratton has even suggested that he could even be vaccinated live on TV to prove that the jab is safe – days after Matt Hancock promised to take the jab with Piers Morgan on ITV’s Good Morning Britain.
She said: ‘We all know the character of the Prime Minister, I don’t think it would be something that he would rule out. But what we also know is that he wouldn’t want to take a jab that should be for somebody who is extremely vulnerable, clinically vulnerable, and who should be getting it before him.’
Boris Johnson’s 80-year-old father Stanley today said he is ‘all for’ people getting vaccinated against coronavirus and said he will get a jab as soon as he can
An upbeat Mr Johnson Sr told the PA news agency that he will ‘certainly go and be vaccinated’ and intends to ‘encourage others to do so’. ‘Of course I am – I welcome the opportunity if my name crops up … I shall certainly go and be vaccinated,’ the PM’s father said
An NHS pharmacy technician at the Royal Free Hospital, London, simulates the preparation of the Pfizer vaccine to support staff training ahead of the roll-out
A graphic shows where the 50 NHS hubs, special jab centres and GP clinics offering the vaccine next week are located
A graphic shows how the Pfizer jab will work, by entering the patient’s cells, causing the immune system to produce antibodies and activate T-cells ready to destroy those infected with coronavirus
Vaccinations will be administered at dozens of hospital hubs from Tuesday – with people aged 80 and over, care home workers and NHS workers who are at higher risk the first to receive the jab.
Don’t panic if you’ve not been contacted about the vaccine, over-80s told
Health bosses have told people over 80 not to panic if they have not been contacted about the coronavirus vaccine – as it is revealed that most of them will not get a jab until the New Year as mass immunisation begins.
Vaccinations will be administered at dozens of hospital hubs from Tuesday – on what has been dubbed ‘V-Day’ by Matt Hancock – with people aged 80 and over, care home staff and NHS workers at higher risk at the front of the queue.
Chris Hopson, chief executive of NHS Providers, said people need to ‘hang fire’ and be assured that they have not been forgotten about, despite not receiving a letter or a phone call about the vaccine.
He told the PA news agency: ‘I don’t think people should expect anything over the next few days because the reality is, as I said, that for the vast, vast, vast majority of people this will be done in January, February, March.
‘And the one thing that we don’t want people to get anxious about or concerned about is ‘Where’s my letter?’ in December.’ He added: ‘People really shouldn’t worry if they’re over 80 and they haven’t had a letter.
The Mail on Sunday reported yesterday that the Queen, 94, and Prince Philip, 99, will have the Pfizer injection within weeks, due to their age.
When Dr June Raine, head of the UK’s drugs regulator, was asked about reports that the Queen will have the jab, she told the BBC’s Andrew Marr: ‘I’m proud, I’m honoured. I think that news that you’ve just given us is humbling, and it’s everything that we’re here to do at the MHRA.
‘We’re a public health organisation, we work as full partners, if I can say, in the public health family, and our goal is totally to protect every member of the population, Her Majesty of course, as well.’
Environment Secretary George Eustice yesterday said it will be a ‘personal decision’ for the Queen whether she takes the vaccine.
Asked on Times Radio if he would like to see the monarch take the vaccine and then announce publicly that she had done so, Mr Eustice said: ‘It will be a personal decision for the Queen, as it is for everyone.’
Responding to the Mail on Sunday’s report, a Buckingham Palace spokesman said: ‘Medical decisions are personal and this is not something we will comment on.’
It comes as Matt Hancock today claimed that every corner of the UK now has received doses of Pfizer/BioNTech’s Covid-19 jab.
No10 brought the first batch of an initial 800,000 doses over from Pfizer’s manufacturing plant in Belgium last week in a top secret operation via the Eurotunnel in a fleet of unmarked lorries.
Health bosses say the UK will get up to 4 million doses before the end of the year – enough to inoculate 2 million people because the jab requires two shots taken 21 days apart.
NHS England chief executive Sir Simon Stevens said tomorrow could mark ‘a decisive turning point in the battle against coronavirus’.
Speaking at the Royal Free Hospital in London, he said: ‘Tomorrow is the beginning of the biggest vaccination campaign in our history, building on successes from previous campaigns against conditions (and) diseases like polio, meningitis, and tuberculosis.
‘Hospitals, and then GPs and pharmacists as more vaccine becomes available, are going to be vaccinating at least until next spring.
A graphic demonstrates the order of priority in which the vaccine will be rolled out, starting with residents in care homes
It is unclear where the Pfizer vaccine is held before being transported to NHS hospitals. But lorries with Belgian number plates were seen queuing to get into a giant warehouse in Bedfordshire this morning. Smaller refrigerated vans were also seen leaving the depot today
Fears over new Covid ID cards that Britons will get after vaccination
Every Briton will be handed a Covid-19 vaccination ID card proving they have received the jab and urged to keep it with them at all times with Tory MPs today accusing the Government of bringing in an immunity passport by stealth.
Foreign Office minister James Cleverly has said millions of people in the UK will have their lives ‘unlocked’ by having the coronavirus jab with a card to prove it.
When asked if the cards were passports by another name, Mr Cleverly repeatedly dodged the question but told Sky News that he hoped that they would not be required as a ‘ticket’ to get into pubs, restaurants or sporting events. He added: ‘Ultimately it’s about unlocking people’s lives and the economy’.
One way to legislate would be to make it illegal to discriminate against someone based on whether they have had the vaccine. Or ministers could clarify in existing coronavirus regulations that businesses do not have the right to see the cards, as they are medical records.
Critics fear the cards are a huge step towards the immunity passport the Government has vehemently denied it wants to bring in. Questions also remain about the need for the Covid-19 card when they are not standard with the flu jab, for example.
‘So in the meantime, we’re going to have to continue to be very careful. But if we do that I think there’s every chance that we will look back on tomorrow as marking a decisive turning point in the battle against coronavirus.’
The Health Secretary today tweeted: ‘All parts of the UK now have doses of the coronavirus vaccine. I want to thank the whole team involved in rolling out the vaccine across the whole UK, starting from tomorrow – great progress.’
Despite his claim, it was revealed that three NHS trusts in coronavirus hotspots will no longer get access to Covid-19 vaccines this week.
Jabs won’t be available in areas without hospital hubs until December 14, when GP surgeries and purpose-built vaccination centres take part in the mass roll-out.
No sites in Leicester or the surrounding county – which is in Tier 3 – will be able to give the vaccine just yet, after officials revised the original list of 53 hospital hubs to remove a handful of facilities.
Two NHS trusts in Kent – which is also under the toughest restrictions – have been removed from the list, the HSJ reported.
Labour’s Shadow Health Secretary Jonathan Ashworth said: ‘Why hasn’t a Leicester hospital been designated as a hub? We have effectively never left lockdown restrictions and our NHS staff have been working so hard… We just want fairness for Leicester.’
Tory MPs today accused the Government of bringing in an immunity passport by stealth, after it was revealed that every Briton who gets vaccinated against Covid-19 will be handed an ID card to prove they have had the jab and urged to carry it with them at all times.
Britain became the first country in the world to approve a coronavirus vaccine last week, after regulators gave Pfizer/BioNTech’s jab the green-light.
Rigorous scientific trials have found it is 95 per cent effective, works in the elderly and is safe.
No10 has ordered 40million doses of the jab, which will arrive in batches and be shared equally among the UK.
No other vaccines have yet to be approved, but officials hope Oxford University’s jab will be rubber-stamped before Christmas.
Its distribution is being undertaken by Public Health England and the NHS in England, Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland through systems specially adapted from those used for the national immunisation programmes.
HOW DOES PFIZER’S COVID VACCINE WORK? AND IS IT SAFE?
What type of vaccine is this?
The jab is known as a messenger RNA (mRNA) vaccine.
Conventional vaccines are produced using weakened forms of the virus, but mRNAs use only the virus’s genetic code.
An mRNA vaccine is injected into the body where it enters cells and tells them to create antigens. These antigens are recognised by the immune system and prepare it to fight coronavirus.
What are the advantages of this type of vaccine?
No actual virus is needed to create an mRNA vaccine. This means the rate at which it can be produced is dramatically accelerated. As a result, mRNA vaccines have been hailed as potentially offering a rapid solution to new outbreaks of infectious diseases.
In theory, they can also be modified reasonably quickly if, for example, a virus develops mutations and begins to change. mRNA vaccines are also cheaper to produce than traditional vaccines, although both will play an important role in tackling Covid-19.
Where is the vaccine made?
Pfizer’s jab is being manufactured at the firm’s plant in Belgium, as well as separate sites in the US.
BioNTech — the other drug company involved in the vaccine — has two production facilities in Germany that are expected to start churning out doses in the New Year.
Is it safe?
All vaccines undergo rigorous testing and have oversight from experienced regulators.
Some believe mRNA vaccines are safer for the patient as they do not rely on any element of the virus being injected into the body. mRNA vaccines have been tried and tested in the lab and on animals before moving to human studies.
The human trials of mRNA vaccines – involving tens of thousands of people worldwide – have been going on since early 2020 to show whether they are safe and effective.
Pfizer will continue to collect safety and long-term outcomes data from participants for two years.
Don’t vaccines take a long time to produce?
In the past it has taken years, sometimes decades, to produce a vaccine.
Traditionally, vaccine development includes various processes, including design and development stages followed by clinical trials – which in themselves need approval before they even begin.
How has this come about so quickly?
In the trials for a Covid-19 vaccine, things look slightly different. A process which usually takes years has been condensed to months.
While the early design and development stages look similar, the clinical trial phases overlap, instead of taking place sequentially.
And pharmaceutical firms have begun manufacturing before final approval has been granted – taking on the risk that they may be forced to scrap their work.
The new way of working means that regulators around the world can start to look at scientific data earlier than they traditionally would do.
But won’t that mean that safety is compromised?
Even though some phases of the clinical trial process have run in parallel rather than one after another, the safety checks have still been the same as they would for any new medicine.
The Medicines and Healthcare products Regulatory Agency (MHRA) has adopted the phrase ‘safety is our watchword’.
Regulators have said they will ‘rigorously assess’ the data and evidence submitted on the vaccine’s safety, quality and effectiveness.
And, in most clinical trials, any safety issues are usually identified in the first two to three months – a period which has already lapsed for most vaccine front-runners.
How have regulators acted so quickly?
Regulators have been carrying out ‘rolling reviews’, which means that instead of going through reams of information at the conclusion of the trials, they have been given access to the data as the scientists work.
A rolling review of the vaccine data started several months ago.
This means regulators can start to look at scientific data earlier than they traditionally would do, which in turn means the approval process can be sped up. Regulators sometimes have thousands of pages of information to go over with a fine-tooth comb – which understandably takes time.
Once all the data available on the vaccine is submitted, MHRA experts will carefully and scientifically review the safety, quality and effectiveness data – how it protects people from Covid-19 and the level of protection it provides.
After this has been done, advice is sought from the Government’s independent advisory body, the Commission on Human Medicines (CHM).
So what data would the regulator have looked at?
The information provided to the MHRA will have included what the vaccine contains, how it works in the body, how well it works and its side-effects, and who it is meant to be used for.
This data must include the results of all animal studies and clinical trials in humans, manufacturing and quality controls, consistency in batch production, and testing of the final product specification.
The factories where the vaccines are made are also inspected before a licence can be granted to make sure that the product supplied will be of the same consistent high standard.