Covid vaccines backlog could put over-50s target at risk with huge number waiting for second dose

A COVID vaccine backlog could put the over-50s target at risk with a huge number waiting for their second dose, it has been reported.

The UK’s current rollout suggests that if second doses ramp up in mid-March – which is roughly two weeks before the deadline for revaccination – then the daily pace of first doses would come to a halt.

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A Sunday Telegraph investigation found that getting through the accumulated backlog of second dose recipients at 10-week delay without an increase in daily capacity would slow down first doses.

It could mean that planned jabs for the 32million in the nine priority groups by May could go down to the wire.

Projections also show that waiting the maximum 12 weeks between jabs could mean that first doses for over-50s would by the end of March.

The current rate appears to suggest that even with the coming vaccine backlog, all over-50s should receive their first jab by end of May and their secon by July.

The rest of the adult population could get their first jab by July and second by September.

It comes as millions of Brits aged under 50 could be vaccinated at work from spring in a bid to speed up the national rollout.

Cabinet ministers told The Sunday Telegraph that discussions are under way for a "jabs at work" programme.

Under the proposal, vaccination teams would go to places of work to speed up the rollout.

Workers at the front of the vaccines queue could include frontline emergency services, teachers, staff in homeless shelters and social workers.

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Delivery drivers, supermarket workers and those working in essential factories like food processing factories could also get their jab at work.

It comes after the Government passed the 10 million mark for Covid vaccines doses earlier this week.

Health Secretary Matt Hancock hailed the “hugely significant milestone”, saying: “Every jab makes us all a bit safer. I want to thank everyone playing their part.”

One in five adults have now had their first dose of a Covid vaccine.

During a press conference on Wednesday, Professor Chris Whitty said he didn't think all adults would get their first dose by May.

He said: "Remember, also, it’s very important that we’ve got to revaccinate all the people in the first tiers as they go through/

"We had this process of delaying the second dose largely to increase the number of people we could get through very quickly to begin with, to provide that predominant protection in the beginning. 

"But we do have to vaccinate all of them within 12 weeks, and that means from March we’ll be starting to revaccinate as well as [giving out] first vaccines. That will inevitably slow things down."

Government data showed 11.465 million people had received a first dose of a Covid-19 vaccine on Saturday, up from 10.971 million on Friday.

The UK recorded 825 new deaths within 28 days of a positive coronavirus test, bringing the overall death toll to 112,092, according to the latest figures.

A further 18,262 Brits have tested positive for the bug – bringing the total to 3,929,835.

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