Hugo Gye Profile picture
20 Jul, 8 tweets, 4 min read
I've written up some thoughts for today's @theipaper on how the vaccine rollout - which is now almost our only line of defence against covid - has gone over the past seven months.…
@theipaper People sometimes say that the UK started well but squandered its lead. This isn't really true: UK has administered more doses per head of population than any comparable country, will be overtaken by Canada but perhaps no others.
@theipaper I was sceptical of the Hancock mantra that 'supply is the rate-limiting factor' but this turned out to be definitely true (at least until recent weeks). Look at the way it fluctuated - can only be explained by changes in supply.
@theipaper And our supplies have been robust, particularly at the beginning. Manufacturing problems meant the rollout couldn't start with the big bang that was hoped for but we still got off the ground quicker than EU and US, though US supplies eventually overtook ours. Kudos Bingham.
@theipaper *BUT* to my mind the biggest problem with the vaccination programme has been the lack of transparency, particularly around supply, which ended up creating elevated expectations. Ministers should have been clear that rates of 600k+ doses a day would never be sustained.
@theipaper It is also clear that the decision to limit the use of Ox/AZ jab - effectively banning under-40s from getting it, which went beyond JCVI advice - slowed down the rollout in its final weeks. Sticking to that ruling even as cases rose showed a disappointing lack of flexibility.
One of the factors underlying the UK's vaccines success has been amazingly high uptake. The anti-vaxx movement has been the dog that hasn't barked in this country. Demand has been at or very close to 90% in all age groups above 40, and 95+% in over-55s.
That said, there's one remaining challenge for this phase of the rollout. Polls suggest 90% of young people are willing to be jabbed, but only around two thirds have had a dose so far. Ministers are aware of the problem: if they can solve it we'll go out with a bang not a whimper

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More from @HugoGye

19 Jul
Vaccines minister Nadhim Zahawi tells Commons that immunosuppressed children aged 12+, plus those with neurodisabilities and severe learning disabilities, will be offered covid jabs. Most other teenagers will not get the vaccine for now.
Children 12+ who live with someone who is immunosuppressed (but not other clinically extremely vulnerable people) will also get a vaccine, as will anyone who is within 3mths of their 18th birthday.
Zahawi on prospect of vaxxing all teens: "Although we are not taking this step today, the JCVI is keeping this under review and they will be looking at more data as it becomes available."
Read 7 tweets
19 Jul
I'm going to stop tweeting the daily vaccine numbers after today. Will obviously still be covering vaccines (a lot) and will tweet updates from time to time - but I had to stop at some time and 'freedom day' seemed as good a time as ever.
In truth the headline number has become decreasingly meaningful as demand has dwindled: what we're doing now is catching up with 2nd doses for all those already single-jabbed, and trying to eke out demand among those who haven't yet got round to getting their 1st.
Will add some reflections on the (extraordinary) successes and (occasional) failures of the UK's vaccines rollout a little later. I've really enjoyed doing this over the past 6 months, especially at the start when the jabs were a tiny glimmer of light at the end of the tunnel.
Read 5 tweets
29 Jan
344,464 additional vaccine doses registered in 🏴󠁧󠁢󠁥󠁮󠁧󠁿 yesterday (343,193 1st doses, 1,271 2nd doses)

54,262 in 🏴󠁧󠁢󠁳󠁣󠁴󠁿 (NB this is two days' worth due to IT issue yesterday)
26,225 in 🏴󠁧󠁢󠁷󠁬󠁳󠁿
For England, this is a slight fall on the figure reported last Friday. The UK number will be higher than last Friday's but that's artificial thanks to the Scotland overcount.
The number of people who've had at least one dose of a Covid-19 vaccine in 🇬🇧 as of yesterday is


(up 443,985 on the day before, 7-day average 358,297)
That is 11.8% of the total population
Read 5 tweets
29 Jan
Vaccines hero Kate Bingham on her reaction to the Novavax success: "When I heard the news last night, I'm afraid I broke the Dry January rule and celebrated with a glass of wine." #r4today
How did UK secure vaccine supplies? Bingham: "We were clearly at a disadvantage in terms of size and buying power so the way we chose to address that was by being nimble, and as co-operative and supportive as we possibly could be."
Asked about prospect of EU export ban on vaccines, Bingham says: "I just don't believe it will ever come to that, we've worked very co-operatively with the European Union." Points eg to Valneva - French company now making vaccines in Scotland.
Read 4 tweets
28 Jan
252,992 additional vaccine doses registered in 🏴󠁧󠁢󠁥󠁮󠁧󠁿 yesterday (251,902 1st doses, 1,090 2nd doses)

23,801 in 🏴󠁧󠁢󠁷󠁬󠁳󠁿

(no data from 🏴󠁧󠁢󠁳󠁣󠁴󠁿 today due to 'IT issue')
The England figure is a small dip on yesterday, and down around 20% week on week.

Ministers & govt scientists have always said there would be fluctuations, which is fair enough, but frustratingly have refused to explain exactly why these changes are happening.
Some possible explanations for apparent slowdown:
general supply restrictions
focus on vaccinating hardest-to-reach over-80s
focus on reaching all care home residents by end of this week
diversion of supply to underperforming areas

Any, all or none could be at play!
Read 6 tweets
27 Jan
Full story now @theipaper: Covid lockdown will remain until at least 8 March, with schools staying closed after half-term…
UK's scientific advisers will examine the relevant data in weeks beginning 15th Feb, and submit their findings to ministers.

The next week, govt will publish a road map for the 'unlockdown'.

8th March the earliest date for any changes to current rules.…
Lifting of lockdown could look quite different to last spring/summer - No10 sources say we have learned a lot about effective measures, and new variants bring different challenges.

Likely to return to a tiered system, but not identical to pre-lockdown.…
Read 4 tweets

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