Row as No10 refuses to reveal number of Brits who've been vaccinated
Number 10 is slammed for failing to reveal the number of Brits who’ve received Pfizer’s Covid vaccine so far
- Officials repeatedly promised jab update data will be released in coming days
- But yet to commit to publishing any figures despite being week into the roll out
- Independent experts slammed lack of transparency as ‘a massive own goal’
Health officials were today slammed for failing to reveal exactly how many Brits have been vaccinated against Covid, despite promising to publish regular updates about the mammoth operation.
Government bosses have repeatedly insisted the figures on coronavirus jab uptake — which Public Health England releases each week for flu in a surveillance report — will be released in the coming days.
But Department of Health chiefs have so far yet to commit to publishing any figures, even though the UK’s biggest-ever vaccination drive kicked off last Tuesday.
Dr Kit Yates, a mathematician at Bath University, claimed the failure to be transparent with the figures felt ‘like a massive own goal’.
He tweeted: ‘It is clearly important to know how many people have been vaccinated from a public grant stand point. Why wouldn’t the Government want to publicise these good news figures on a dashboard?’
Officials were concerned about Covid vaccine uptake due to a wave of anti-vaxx conspiracy theories being peddled on social media. A number of major surveys pre-roll out suggested up to one in five Britons would refuse to take it.
Politico reported today that Matt Hancock is facing pressure from other ministers to publish daily vaccination figures, in the same fashion as No10 does for cases, deaths, tests and hospital admissions.
The news website claimed that health chiefs were only able to give a ‘ballpark’ figure of ‘tens of thousands so far’, which Dr Yates branded ‘not a good enough estimate’.
Health officials were today slammed for failing to reveal exactly how many Brits have been vaccinated against Covid. Pictured: A patient receives the first of two injections with a dose of the Pfizer/BioNtech Covid-19 vaccine at The Hive in Harrow, normally home to Barnet FC, where local GPs are running a vaccination centre at the sports facility
Dr Kit Yates, co-director of the Centre for Mathematical Biology at the University of Bath, said the failure to be transparent with the figures felt ‘like a massive own goal’
Hundreds of people massed in Parliament Square on Monday after protest group StandUp X sent out a call for another demonstration
Anti-vaxx protesters massed in London on Monday as it was announced the capital would be put into Tier 3 restrictions
Britain became the first country in the world to approve a Covid-19 vaccine for mass roll-out this month, after regulators pored over a mountain of data to confirm it was safe and effective.
The Army-backed mission to get inoculate millions of the country’s most vulnerable people kicked off on December 8, with 91-year-old grandmother Margaret Keenan becoming the first person in the world to receive the injection.
Fifty NHS hospitals were geared up to give the first batch of doses to over-80s and care home staff. Leftover supplies — which have to be used within five days of being taken out of ultra-cold freezers and thawed — are given to frontline NHS workers.
But the scheme has already suffered hiccups, with care home residents supposed to be the first in line to get vaccinated.
The challenge of getting Pfizer/BioNTech’s jab — the only vaccine officials have approved so far — into care homes meant vulnerable residents lost their place at the top of the queue.
Currently the vaccines are only being deployed at hospitals and GP surgeries, due to logistical and regulatory problems in storing and distributing Pfizer’s jab.
The celebrity chef, 80, uploaded a picture of a male nurse giving her the Pfizer/BioNTech injection this morning
Great British Bake Off judge Prue Leith, 80, shares photo of herself receiving Covid vaccine in hospital
Great British Bake Off judge Prue Leith has had the coronavirus vaccine ‘with a painless jab’.
The celebrity chef, 80, uploaded a picture of a male nurse giving her the Pfizer/BioNTech injection this morning.
She tweeted: ‘Who wouldn’t want immunity from #Covid19 with a painless jab?? #vaccine.’
Fellow GBBO host Noel Fielding commented: ‘Always the most classy glamorous person in the room x love you Prue x.’
Winner of the 9th series of the show in 2018 Dr Rahul Mandal said: ‘Yes!! You just look as gorgeous in the tent as when you are taking your jab!!’
And Paul Hollywood added: ‘Well done Prue x.’
It comes as some GP surgeries in England that were due to start rolling out Pfizer’s coronavirus vaccine yesterday were told their deliveries were delayed.
TV presenter Leith said in May she believed it was more important to save the young over the old during the pandemic.
The NHS started rolling out the biggest ever mass vaccination programme from last Tuesday.
People aged 80 in hospital or living in their own homes are the priority for the jab this week.
The vaccine has to be kept at -70C in special freezers which most care facilities do not have and medics were not currently allowed to divide the batches of 975 vials which they are shipped in.
Care staff and Brits over 80 have instead been prioritised. Elderly care home residents, who are deemed most at risk of suffering complications of the disease, won’t get it until closer to Christmas.
In Scotland, care home residents began to get the vaccine yesterday as its mass immunisation plans got off the ground this week.
And yesterday it was revealed that some GP surgeries in England who were due to start rolling out the vaccine that their deliveries would be delayed.
Health chiefs last week said that all 50 hospitals in England which received the initial batches of the vaccines were expected to give out at least 975 doses in the first week.
That would suggest at least 48,750 shots would be dished out in the first week of the operation, which Mr Hancock described as ‘the largest-scale vaccination campaign in our country’s history’.
Labour last week piled pressure on ministers to publish regular data on the Covid-19 vaccination scheme.
But Department of Health chiefs were unable to confirm exactly how many Brits had been vaccinated when asked last week.
The Government agency — headed by Mr Hancock — yesterday told MailOnline it was ‘still expecting to publish regular numbers’. And officials have yet to respond to this website’s request today for further information.
It comes amid an ongoing transparency row about the way Number 10 presents its Covid data.
No10 came under fire for ‘cherry-picking’ gloomy modelling and presenting scary charts to the public to justify going into the second national lockdown.
Top experts have also complained about a lack of ‘objective criteria’ used to decide which areas warrant being put in tough lockdown Tiers.
And the failure to keep the public updated with the vaccination scheme comes amid growing anti-vaxx concerns, with protesters yesterday clashing with police in central London.
StandUp X — which arranged the march — says that ‘forced, coerced and mandated’ vaccinations will see humanity become ‘a mass science experiment profiting billions for pharmaceutical companies and their partners including Bill Gates’.
Officials have repeatedly sought to assure vaccine-hesitant members of the public that the jab is safe.
Britain’s medical regulator gave Pfizer/BioNTech’s vaccine the seal of approval at unprecedented speed.
Within a fortnight of final trials of the jab wrapping up, the Medicines and Healthcare products Regulatory Agency (MHRA) gave it a good safety rating.
This process normally takes years as regulators need to wait for the full data to be published before scrutinising the findings.
But the process was condensed for Covid, with the MHRA allowed to conduct a ‘rolling review’, analysing data from Pfizer’s studies in real time. The same review process is being used for Oxford University’s promising vaccine, which could be approved in days.
Concerns about Pfizer’s vaccine’s safety were stoked when America’s top Covid doctor, Anthony Fauci, accused the MHRA of cutting corners to approve the jab first.
But the MHRA strongly disputed the claims. And the US has now approved the vaccine, too.
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