Matt Hancock outlines details of UK vaccine delivery plan
The delivery company has published what has been called a “blacklist” of 28 areas in the UK which will not be getting as much post as usual. These areas include parts of London and the South East, as well as other regions such as Leeds. The list can be found on the Royal Mail’s website here under ‘Royal Mail Deliveries’.
Some residents have already spoken of delays in receiving mail, and the news has given rise to concerns that vaccine invitations may also be affected.
The Government is aiming to vaccinate 14 million people by the middle of next month.
Citizens over the age of 80 are being prioritised for vaccine access, and hundreds of thousands of invitation letters are being sent out in the coming days.
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However, The Telegraph cited a Royal Mail insider as saying: “We’re really struggling.”
The company is said to be dealing with staff shortages due to a number of them having to self-isolate.
Outbreaks of coronavirus have hit postage workers in parts of the country including Lincoln and Horsham.
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Delays aside, the task to vaccinate 14 million people in around a month has been described as a “Herculean undertaking” by New Scientist.
Ilford MP Wes Streeting has suggested NHS letters could be prioritised for delivery so vaccination invitations arrive in a timely manner.
He added the delivery problems were having “a serious knock-on impact” on residents receiving “important NHS correspondence”.
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Royal Mail has said in a statement: “Despite our best endeavours, some areas of the country may experience a temporary reduction in service levels due to unavoidable staff absences and essential social distancing measures.”
It added self-isolation guidelines are having “a direct impact on our staffing levels.”
On its website, the postal service adds: “Our delivery operation is a key part of keeping the country moving. In fact, we have put even more resources in to keep delivering.
“This includes additional overtime provision and a very significant investment in protective equipment for our colleagues.”
On Monday, the Government called its vaccine rollout “the largest vaccination programme in British history”.
It claims tens of millions of people will be immunised against Covid-19 by the spring with the help of more than 2,700 vaccination centres around the country.
Health Secretary Matt Hancock said: “The next few months will present a significant opportunity to turn the tide of battle against COVID.
“I am looking forward to watching these plans bring more reassurance and hope back to people’s lives after a difficult year.”
According to the most recent Public Health England data, the UK recorded 46,169 new cases of coronavirus yesterday, with 529 deaths.
In addition, 2,286,572 people have received their first dose of a Covid-19 vaccine.
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