Nadhim Zahawi tells LBC: We will get to 15m jabs by mid-February target

4 February 2021, 08:54 | Updated: 4 February 2021, 10:12

By Patrick Grafton-Green

Vaccines minister Nadhim Zahawi has told LBC he believes the UK will hit 15 million first doses in its coronavirus jab rollout by February 15, with just 10 days left to reach the target.

It comes after Prime Minister Boris Johnson announced on Wednesday evening that the UK had passed the 10 million first dose milestone.

But pointing out that there has only been one day when more than 500,000 doses have been administered since the rollout began, Nick Ferrari asked: “Can you put your hand on your heart and say you're going to average 500,000 every day for the next 10 days?”

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Nick highlighted that over the last three days, 374,000, 350,000, 319,000 doses have been administered.

Mr Zahawi said: “We will get to 15 million – we got to 600,000 I think two Saturdays ago.”

He added: “I am very confident, we’ve got a great team, we’ve got the NHS, GPs, hospitals, vaccination centres, the army, the army of volunteers all working away and I’m confident we’ll hit the target for mid-February.”

When asked by Nick what he will do if he is wrong, the cabinet minister said: “I will come on your programme and you can hold me to account.”

Mr Zahawi later stated he hopes to "offer" 15m jabs by the middle of February, adding he is "confident" the Government "will deliver on that target of offering that vaccine to the top four cohorts".

He said: “Here’s the challenge Nick, it’s not just about volume, it’s about precision, because I’ve for the top four cohorts that we’re targeting of the most vulnerable that’s 88% of mortality... so it is about precision as well as volume.

“I’m confident that the plans we’ve got for the 15th will deliver on that target of offering that vaccine to the top four cohorts... happy to come back on your show and talk about it.”

Mr Johnson warned coronavirus infections remain "alarmingly high" and the NHS is still under "huge pressure", despite promising vaccination data, at Wednesday's Downing Street press conference.

He praised the "colossal" effort of health workers who have helped vaccinate more than 10 million people against Covid-19 in the UK.

But he said: "Though today there are some signs of hope - the numbers of Covid patients in hospital are beginning to fall for the first time since the onset of this new wave - the level of infection is still alarmingly high.

"The wards of our NHS are under huge pressure with more than 32,000 Covid patients still in hospital."

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