Covid-19 vaccine centres could run 24 hours a day, says minister, as seven new sites open across UK

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The UK’s vaccine minister has said the programme of Covid-19 inoculations could run 24 hours a day, seven days a week so as to immunise as many people as possible as quickly as possible.

Speaking on Monday, vaccines minister Nadhim Zahawi told BBC Radio 4’s Today programme that jabs could be administered day and night if there were sufficient supplies of the vaccine.

“If we need to go to 24-hour working, we will absolutely go 24 hours a day to make sure we vaccinate as quickly as we can,” 

Zahawi’s comment comes as the UK opens seven new mass vaccination sites across the country in an attempt to speed up the inoculation programme and make it accessible to everyone. The aim is for each UK citizen to have access to a site where they can be vaccinated within a 10-mile radius of their home.   

Many of the centres are based in makeshift locations such as Ashton Gate football stadium in Bristol, Epsom Downs Racecourse in Surrey, and the Manchester Tennis & Football Centre. 

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Like many of its European counterparts, the UK government has come under criticism for not making enough progress in inoculating those most vulnerable to Covid-19. 

According to Health Secretary Matt Hancock, the authorities have already given the vaccine to two million people, with around 200,000 being injected every day. 

The UK is attempting to immunise 13.9 million people by mid-February. Speaking earlier on Monday, Zahawi said the state would be able to “offer” 15 million vaccines by the middle of next month.

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