'Now is the moment' to take up Covid vaccine offer, PM says

10 February 2021, 17:18 | Updated: 10 February 2021, 18:43

By Kate Buck

Boris Johnson has said "now is the moment" for people to take up their offer for a Covid vaccine, and warned it will be a "long and hard road back to normality".

Announcing that more than 13 million people have received at least one jab since vaccinations began in early December, he said the Government was on target to fulfil their promise of 15 million by mid February.

He also announced the Government's target is to offer vaccines to everyone in the top 9 priority groups by the end of April - which would mean vaccinating another 17 million people.

That would mean at least 230,000 people receiving their jab each day, which is within current operational capacity, but this will also be in the timeframe in which people need to start having their second jabs.

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The Prime Minister told the Downing Street press conference: "The reason I make this appeal today for people to come forward in those groups to get vaccinated is not to hit some numerical target but to save lives, prevent serious illness and so the whole country can take another step on the long and hard road back to normality."

Boris Johnson has said "now is the moment" to take up an offer of a Covid vaccine
Boris Johnson has said "now is the moment" to take up an offer of a Covid vaccine. Picture: PA

Mr Johnson also urged the remaining eligible individuals who are yet to receive a coronavirus vaccine to come forward for jabs.

"With less than a week to go until the target date of Monday the 15th, there's no doubt we've made great strides, with just over 13 million people now vaccinated in our United Kingdom, including one in four adults in England, over 90% of everyone over 75 and over 90% of eligible residents of care homes for the elderly," he said.

"But that still leaves nearly two million people, a population roughly twice the size of Birmingham, that we still hope to reach.

"Now is the moment to do it."

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He issued a particular appeal to social care workers who still have not been vaccinated to contact their employer to "fix it up".

It came after Mr Johnson said today people will need "to get used to the idea of vaccinating and revaccinating in the autumn" to fight new coronavirus variants.

He gave his strongest indication yet that Brits face the prospect of repeated rounds of Covid jabs while being grilled during Prime Minister's Questions on Wednesday.

The UK leader was asked by Conservative MP Julian Smith about how the UK will continue to ensure its vaccine supply chain continues its "success" when future strains emerge.

Mr Johnson said the reason the government secured 50 million doses of the CureVac was because "we believe that that may help us to develop vaccines that can respond at scale to new variants of the virus".

He added: "As the House will have heard from the chief medical officer, the deputy chief medical officer and others, we're going to have to get used to the idea of vaccinating and then revaccinating in the autumn as we come to face these new variants."