LONDON – The United Kingdom will speed up its vaccination program against COVID-19 as soon as possible, with centers operating 24 hours a day.
The UK recorded on Wednesday its highest daily coronavirus death toll of 1,564 people.
In a tense session of questions to the UK Prime Minister in the House of Commons on Wednesday, he confirmed without giving further details that his government will set up specific sites to provide uninterrupted vaccine supplies.
“We’ll be going to 24/7 as soon as we can,” Prime Minister Boris Johnson said.
Infection rates aren’t slowing fast enough as the UK Ministry of Health reported on Wednesday 47,525 new infections and a new daily record of deaths bringing the total number of fatalities to 84,767.
Amid this ongoing escalation, aggravated by the new, more transmissible variant of the virus, Johnson stressed that the national health service is already working exceptionally fast to vaccinate the population, but “at the moment the limit is on supply” of the vaccine.
In order to optimize the campaign, preparations are underway for setting up various vaccination locations, with 233 hospitals, 1,000 health centers, 200 pharmacies and 500 others points.
The head of vaccine distribution, Nadhim Zahawi, acknowledged to the House of Commons that the initial supply had gaps, but assured that the four priority groups, such as frontline workers and the elderly, would be vaccinated before mid-February.
AstraZeneca is expected to deliver 2 million doses a week before the middle of next month. In addition, the UK has begun trying a new coronavirus treatment using interferon beta, an inhaled protein that stimulates the immune system to fight the virus and reduces the severity of the disease.
The Hull Royal Infirmary administered the first dose of this treatment to a patient on Tuesday afternoon.
The treatment was developed at Southampton University Hospital and is being produced by Synairgen, a Southampton-based biotech company. It is said to reduce the severity of the effects of the coronavirus on patients by nearly 80%.