Covid vaccine army commander 'absolutely' confident April's 32m jab target will be hit

15 February 2021, 10:43 | Updated: 15 February 2021, 11:01

By Patrick Grafton-Green

The army commander of the UK’s coronavirus vaccine rollout has told LBC he is “absolutely” confident 32 million jabs will be reached by the end of April.

Brigadier Phil Prosser, the Commander of Military Support to the Vaccine Delivery Programme, told Nick Ferrari: “Everybody is coming together from all parts of society to help with this, and the momentum we have achieved shows no signs of slowing.”

The UK has reached its target of giving more than 15 million people across the UK their first dose of a vaccine by February 15, paving the way for the next phase of the rollout - covering the next five priority groups including the over 50s - to begin.

The Government is aiming to get an offer of a vaccine to the estimated 17 million people in the next five groups by the end of April.

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Praising all those who have contributed to the vaccine rollout, Brig Prosser, commander of the 101 Logistic Brigade, said he had "the honour" of visiting a couple of vaccination sites last week.

"The moment you arrive, you get out and the volunteers are there to greet you, there’s a real air of military precision", he said, adding the NHS was "running these sites with the precision of a Formula One pit stop".

“What you sense is a real spirit, there’s a community spirit... there’s a team spirit, people are watching each other’s backs and there’s a spirit of hope as well,” he said.

He added: “We should remember that, as we’ve gone to the most at risk, the over-70s that we’ve achieved so far, a lot of the people most at risk haven’t been out for a year so coming out to a vaccine centre, you could just sense the relief once they’d had their vaccine.”

“This team won’t stop for anything I don’t think,” Brig Prosser said.

Brig Prosser, who has served in Bosnia, Iraq and Afghanistan, told LBC being involved in the vaccine rollout is "probably the most special thing I've ever done, being here and protecting the nation at the heart of the action".

He said his wife, who is classed as clinically extremely vulnerable, received the jab three weeks ago.

“Being part of the operation that helps protect my family and protect the families of everybody else in this country have just made it much more special,” he said.