Following the Government statement on the covid vaccine roll-out, Sir Geoffrey Clifton-Brown asks when it is expected that the all nine priority categories will be completed and how this will influence the reopening of businesses and the wider economy.
I am sure my hon. Friend would like to join me in paying huge tribute to the NHS colleagues and volunteers who have rolled out the vaccine with such speed in Gloucestershire. However, is he able to tell the House whether there will be any clarity about when the nine priority categories are likely to be completed? Will that inform the Government on how they can produce a road map for a roll-out of the wider economy, as my businesses in the Cotswolds are desperate for clarity on that matter?
I am grateful to my hon. Friend for his question. I will certainly join him in thanking the NHS family and army of volunteers. They have done phenomenally well. I can tell him that in his STP in Gloucestershire, 94% of the over-80s have received their first dose—that is pretty good going. He will know that we have built a deployment infrastructure than can deploy as much vaccine supply as we are able to bring in. A couple of Saturdays ago, we reached a record of just shy of 600,000 doses in a single day. That is, I guess, a demonstration of the capability of the infrastructure. We continue to grow it, as I announced today. It is very much dependent on vaccine supply. We have good visibility from here to the end of March, with more volume coming through beyond that. My focus should—I hope he agrees—be on the mid-February deadline to vaccinate those top four cohorts of the most vulnerable. That is 88% of mortality and, if we can get them done by mid-February, we will have achieved a real milestone in our fight against this virus.