“The challenge for Boris Johnson’s government will be to ensure that the biggest vaccination campaign in Britain’s history is accomplished systematically and speedily. If the government manages to discharge this formidably complex task effectively, it will deserve credit in concluding a crisis of which its overall handling has been chequered and sometimes lamentable”.
England’s chief medical officer has warned the government faced a revolt by GPs over cancelled second jabs for elderly patients.
Chris Whitty and his counterparts from the other home nations made clear that struggles to get hold of supplies were likely to be the main reason why more people could not be vaccinated, and he defended a shift towards giving first doses.
“Vaccine shortage is a reality that cannot be wished away” he said in a letter to doctors. In England 786,000 people have had a first dose of the Pfizer vaccine, with 264,406 jabs in Christmas week. In the UK the total is 944,539.