Categories
General

Record-breaking day for Covid vaccines as nearly 500k jabs given in just 24 hours in UK – Mirror Online

Nearly half a million people were given Covid vaccines in just 24 hours in a record-breaking day, latest data shows.

The Government said 478,248 people were given a first dose between Friday and today – the highest figure of the rollout so far.

It means the total number of people who have had a first dose of the vaccine now stands at 5.86 million.

And officials revealed that 468,617 people have received second doses – an increase of 1,821 on figures released the previous day.

It comes amid heightening pressure to reduce the 12-week gap between doses of the two vaccines currently available in the UK – manufactured by Pfizer and Oxford University/AstraZeneca.

What do you think of the government’s handling of the vaccine rollout? Let us know in the comments below

Chief Medical Officer Chris Whitty spoke on Friday at a news conference
(Image: REUTERS)

The government opted to increase the wait between jabs in order to give first doses to more people faster – but today it emerged the British Medical Association has called for this to be slashed in half.

The private letter, seen by the BBC, said the current plans of people waiting up to 12 weeks for a second dose – which Health Secretary Matt Hancock said is supported by data from an Israeli study – are “difficult to justify”.

Video Loading

Video Unavailable

It said: “The absence of any international support for the UK’s approach is a cause of deep concern and risks undermining public and the profession’s trust in the vaccination programme.”

However, Public Health England medical director Dr Yvonne Doyle has defended the decision, which she said had been taken on “public health and scientific advice”.

NHS staff and key workers queue in the Louisa Jordan Hospital before receiving the coronavirus vaccine on January 23

The government said 5.86 million people have now received their first vaccine in the UK
(Image: Getty Images)

“The more people that are protected against this virus, the less opportunity it has to get the upper hand. Protecting more people is the right thing to do,” she told the BBC Radio 4 Today programme.

“People will get their second dose. As supplies become available more people will be vaccinated.

“It is a reasonable scientific balance on the basis of both supply and also protecting the most people.”

The UK’s Joint Committee on Vaccination and Immunisation previously concluded the first dose delivers 89 per cent protection from day 10 after being administered.

Doctor Tom McAnea prepares to administer the Oxford/AstraZeneca Covid-19 vaccine at a temporary vaccination centre in St Columba's Church in Sheffield

Dr Tom McAnea prepares to administer the Oxford/AstraZeneca Covid-19 vaccine at a temporary vaccination centre in Sheffield
(Image: AFP via Getty Images)

However, initial data from a study led by Professor Ran Balicer in Israel found it may be as low as 33 per cent.

Israel is currently leading the way with its inoculation programme, having already given one in four of its population a jab, with a three-week gap between doses.

It comes as the UK’s Covid-19 death toll nears 100,000 following a further 1,348 fatalities.

There were 33,552 new cases of the virus recorded, a drop from the 40,261 reported on Friday.

Professor Sir Mark Walport, a former government chief scientific adviser and a member of the Scientific Advisory Group for Emergencies (Sage), said even stricter measures may be needed if cases do not continue falling “at pace”.

“Decisions are going to have to be made on the basis of the evidence,” he told BBC news.

“If the evidence shows that the decrease in cases isn’t continuing, then clearly policymakers will have to consider much tougher measures.”

Categories
General

High blood pressure symptoms: Headaches could be a warning sign of the silent killer – Daily Express

Left to worsen, high blood pressure is a risky health condition, with most people only discovering they have it once they’re rushed into hospital – normally due to a heart attack or stroke. Professor Jamie Waterwall, National Lead for Cardiovascular Disease Prevention at Public Health England (PHE) commented on the condition. “High blood pressure is the country’s leading cause of heart attacks and strokes,” he said.

“If you’re over 40, getting your free NHS Health Check is a simple way to find out your blood pressure as well as your risk of other conditions.”

Also known as hypertension, high blood pressure can lead to headaches and bouts of dizziness.

The health condition may also cause someone to experience unexplained nosebleeds.

It can also lead to chest pain, shortness of breath and/or blurred vision.

The best way to check if you’re suffering from hypertension is to get your blood pressure measured.

READ MORE: Coronavirus new strain symptoms: Three signs you may have already had the virus

This can be done at the GP’s clinic, at some pharmacies, and in the comfort of your own home.

Called a sphygmomanometer, a high blood pressure monitor can be bought from BHF.

The cheapest option on their website starts from £19.99, with the most expensive being £119.99.

It’s important to buy a reliable blood pressure monitor to get an accurate reading.

DON’T MISS:

Alternatively, you can buy a blood pressure monitor at large supermarkets or pharmacies.

How to read the results

A normal blood pressure reading is below 140/90mmHg – showing the systolic and diastolic readings.

The systolic number is the first number that tells you the pressure exerted when the heart is beating.

Meanwhile, the diastolic number tells you the pressure when the heart is relaxing, between beats.

People with heart or circulatory disease, diabetes, or kidney disease have an ideal blood pressure reading less than 130/80mmHg.

For detailed video instructions on how to measure your blood pressure at home, visit the BHF website.

If you already own a blood pressure monitor, the BHF recommends the device is serviced every two years.

“It needs to be regularly serviced and calibrated to make sure it is accurate,” said the charity.

“This usually involves sending it back to the manufacturer, who will probably charge a fee,” added the BHF.

If the reading is higher than you’d like it to be then lifestyle adjustments might help to lower your blood pressure reading.

This includes exercising regularly – for at least 150 minutes per week – and keeping to a healthy weight.

In addition, it’s helpful to eat a healthy balanced diet, cut down on salt, and to drink less alcohol.

Categories
General

Dont blame people breaking lockdown rules, top intensive care doctors tell NHS staff – Daily Mail

Top intensive care doctors told NHS staff not to blame people for breaking lockdown rules on Saturday, as the number of people on ventilators with Covid-19 surpassed 4,000 for the first time.

Dr Alison Pittard and Dr Daniele Bryden, respectively the dean and vice dean of the Faculty of Intensive Care Medicine, chided other healthcare workers for posting messages online which have been critical of lockdown rule breakers.

In an article for the Observer, the pair said media was ‘awash with comments’ from ‘exhausted and understandably frustrated’ healthcare staff suggesting rule-breakers ‘may have “blood on their hands” or need to “f**k off”‘.

Dr Pittard and Dr Bryden added criticising the public runs the risk of ‘feeding the trolls who call us liars when we show the harsh realities of intensive care treatment’. 

Among other critical messages posted by medics, cardiology professor Richard Schilling recently said on Twitter that breaking the rules ‘should have the same social stigma as drunk driving’.

It came as the number of coronavirus patients on ventilators in UK hospitals passed 4,000 for the first time since the start of the pandemic. 

A total of 4,076 Covid patients were in hospital on ventilators as of Friday, according to official data. The highest number in the first wave was 3,301 on April 12.  

Top intensive care doctors told NHS staff not to blame people for breaking lockdown rules on Saturday, as the number of people on ventilators with Covid-19 surpassed 4,000 for the first time (file photo)

Top intensive care doctors told NHS staff not to blame people for breaking lockdown rules on Saturday, as the number of people on ventilators with Covid-19 surpassed 4,000 for the first time (file photo)

Top intensive care doctors told NHS staff not to blame people for breaking lockdown rules on Saturday, as the number of people on ventilators with Covid-19 surpassed 4,000 for the first time (file photo)

In their article, Dr Pittard and Dr Bryden also wrote that it was ‘too easy and too simplistic’ to blame lockdown rule-breakers for a rise in infections and deaths. 

They said that doing so risks ‘losing the goodwill’ of Britons who are trying to comply with the rules. 

But Dr Andrew Goddard, the president of the Royal College of Physicians, said NHS staff were right to criticise rule breakers.

He said: ‘Seeing individuals flouting the social distancing guidance makes both staff and rule-abiding members of the public angry and many feel sympathy with the views expressed by some on social media.’ 

Professor Spilling had recently said on Twitter: ‘Joining the chain of death should have the same social stigma as drunk driving. 

‘One good reason: my wife [also a doctor] and I have seen pregnant women in different hospitals dying of Covid with teams standing by to cut the baby out post-mortem. Good enough?’ 

Dr Alison Pittard (pictured) and Dr Daniele Bryden, respectively the dean and vice dean of the Faculty of Intensive Care Medicine, chided other healthcare workers for posting messages online which have been critical of lockdown rule breakers

Dr Alison Pittard (pictured) and Dr Daniele Bryden, respectively the dean and vice dean of the Faculty of Intensive Care Medicine, chided other healthcare workers for posting messages online which have been critical of lockdown rule breakers

Dr Alison Pittard (pictured) and Dr Daniele Bryden, respectively the dean and vice dean of the Faculty of Intensive Care Medicine, chided other healthcare workers for posting messages online which have been critical of lockdown rule breakers

Among messages posted by medics, cardiology professor Richard Schilling recently said on Twitter that breaking the rules 'should have the same social stigma as drunk driving'

Among messages posted by medics, cardiology professor Richard Schilling recently said on Twitter that breaking the rules 'should have the same social stigma as drunk driving'

Among messages posted by medics, cardiology professor Richard Schilling recently said on Twitter that breaking the rules ‘should have the same social stigma as drunk driving’

The Government this weekend launched a hard-hitting advertising campaign to try to persuade Britons to stick to lockdown restrictions.  

Alongside an image of a medic, one advert asks, ‘Can you look them in the eyes and tell them you’re helping by staying at home?’ 

The number of people on ventilators has climbed every day since December 18, when it was 1,364.

The ventilation figure is a key metric for the Government when it considers when to ease lockdown restrictions.  

It comes as another 1,348 people died within 24 hours of testing positive for the virus – a rise of 4.1 per cent on last Saturday’s 1,295. 

The UK’s chief scientific adviser, Sir Patrick Vallance, said on Friday: ‘The death rate’s awful and it’s going to stay, I’m afraid, high for a little while before it starts coming down.’  

New figures also showed that around 1 in 10 patients admitted to intensive care are being transferred from over-stretched hospitals because of a lack of bed space. 

In total, 392 Covid patients have been transferred in 2021.

This is more per week than in April last year, during the the first wave of the pandemic. 

The number of people in mechanical ventilation beds has climbed every day since 18 December when it was 1,364 and now stands at 4,076.  

Boris Johnson yesterday revealed that the Kent coronavirus strain – responsible for the soaring Covid cases recorded in the last month – could be 30 per cent more deadly than older versions of the virus.

However the PM was accused of ‘scaremongering’ after failing to present any evidence to back up the terrifying development.

And the Scientific Advisory Group for Emergencies (Sage) – the body of scientists which has advised the Government throughout the pandemic – are only 50 per cent sure the new variant could be more fatal. 

Professor Robert Dingwall, who sits on the New and Emerging Respiratory Virus Threats Advisory Group (Nervtag) – the subcommittee of Sage which discussed the deadliness of the new strain on Thursday – said the claim that the variant is 30 per cent more lethal is on a ‘very fragile’ base of evidence and accused the Government of ‘exploiting public fear’ over the virus. 

Chief Scientific advisor Sir Patrick Vallance said during the press conference that evidence the strain is indeed more deadly is still ‘weak’. 

Public Health England medical director Dr Yvonne Doyle today revealed it is not ‘absolutely clear’ if a mutation of the virus first found in Kent is more dangerous.

Graham Medley, professor of infectious disease modelling at the London School of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine, said it is an ‘open question’ but not a ‘game changer’ in terms of dealing with the pandemic.

And Dr Mike Tildesley, a member of Sage subgroup the Scientific Pandemic Influenza Group on Modelling, said it was still too early to be drawing ‘strong conclusions’ about the suggested increased mortality rate.

Categories
General

The pace of coronavirus vaccinations now may determine whether or not well need a perpetual cycle of new shots to combat variants – Yahoo News UK

Categories
General

Put travellers in hotels to curb spread of new coronavirus variants, says key adviser ahead of crunch meeting – The Independent

Forcing travellers arriving in the UK to stay in hotels will help curb dangerous new Covid-19 strains, a key government adviser says, heaping pressure on Boris Johnson to act.

Ahead of a crunch decision on Monday, the head of the New and Emerging Respiratory Virus Threats Advisory Group (Nervtag) said the science backed the move, which would make Britons safer.

“Certainly measures like stricter quarantines and putting people in hotels for long periods will have an impact,” Professor Peter Horby said.

“It’s up to the government to decide whether they think the imposition of those is worth the benefits that they’re likely to see.”

The comments came amid fresh accusations that ministers have lost control of Covid security at airports, with hundreds of passengers packed into a crowded room at Heathrow.

It was claimed that electronic gates were opened up and people allowed through without proper checks – prompting Labour to condemn “no controls and a quarantine system in disarray”.

It seems certain that, on Monday, a Cabinet committee will take the once-unthinkable step of requiring at least some arrivals, including returning Britons, to pay to stay in hotels for up to two weeks afterwards.

The fight appears to be over whether all must do so – or just passengers from high-risk countries, with many Tory MPs warning of another “devastating blow” to the aviation and travel industries.

Security guards, funded by the taxpayer, would ensure that nobody left the hotel until the end of their quarantine period, according to the Sunday Telegraph.

The prime minister hinted that a crackdown is looming on Friday, saying he did not want to undermine the “success that the NHS has had in vaccinating 5.4 million people”.

“We may need to go further,” Mr Johnson said, when asked about tougher border controls, adding about the vaccine programme: “We don’t want to put that at risk by having a new variant come back in.”

Patrick Vallance, the chief scientific adviser, is known to be in favour, after admitting keeping the borders open when the pandemic struck last March was his biggest regret of the past year.

The health secretary, Matt Hancock, and the home secretary, Priti Patel, are believed to be pushing for all international arrivals – other than cross-Channel lorry-drivers – to be required to quarantine under strict conditions.

The cost to passengers could be significant – Australia has enforced confinement in hotels for up to 24 days, with travellers charged £1,500 or more.

Officials are also known to have examined contacting each person once a day, requiring them to send a photograph of themselves at their location.

These could then be checked using GPS data and facial-recognition software. Those who fail to comply within a set period would receive a visit from police.

Such a crackdown would go much further than the closure of “air corridors” last Monday, requiring everyone coming to the UK to produce a negative Covid test.

However, there is a belief that Britons may have be convinced that sacrificing a foreign summer holiday is a price worth paying to get the pandemic under control at home – with the prize of looser curbs on everyday life.

Officials are still anxiously awaiting the results of studies to determine whether the new Covid variants from South Africa and Brazil are resistant to the existing vaccines,

Prof Horby told BBC Radio 4: “I think complete control of variants moving around the world is going to be almost impossible, but we know that certain measures can slow the movement of these viruses around the world.”

Senior Labour politicians demanded tougher border measures. Yvette Cooper, chair of the Commons Home Affairs Committee, said: “We are almost a year into this crisis and yet we, inexplicably, still don’t have basic Covid safety measures in place at the border.

“The pre-travel testing system is a step forward, but it doesn’t go far enough. Ministers should be urgently sorting out safe arrival arrangements, including additional testing on arrival, managed quarantine including hotels and transport to make sure people aren’t going onto public transport with Covid.”

And Nick Thomas-Symonds, the shadow home secretary, attacked the scenes at Heathrow, saying: “The Tories have lost control. Strict protections are needed to ensure we don’t import further strains of the virus.”

The criticism came as official daily figures showed 33,552 new coronavirus cases across the UK, with 33,412 patients in hospital – and a further 1,348 deaths reported within 28 days of contracting the virus.

Another big leap in the number of first vaccinations, of 478,248, took the total who have received an initial dose to 5,861,351.

Categories
General

Oxford University to test potential COVID-19 wonder drug Ivermectin – Arab News

LONDON: Oxford University researchers are planning to trial a drug that has shown signs of reducing COVID-19 deaths in developing countries.

The Principle trial is aiming to find a drug that works soon after virus symptoms appear in a patient, and one that is most effective during the primary stages of the illness, The Times reported.

The trial is assessing Ivermectin, a medicine used on livestock and people who have been infected by parasitic worms, which has been hailed by some as a “wonder drug” with the potential to save thousands of lives, the report added.

Other scientists said the drug had not been assessed properly and that the full extent of its efficacy was not yet known.

“It has potential antiviral properties and anti-inflammatory properties and there have been quite a few smaller trials conducted in low and middle- income countries, showing that it speeds recovery, reduces inflammation and reduces hospitalisation,” said Chris Butler, professor of primary care at Oxford and co-chief of the Principle trial. “But there’s a gap in the data. There’s not been a really rigorous trial.”

The medicine works by blocking the entry of a protein into a cell’s nuclei, limiting the replication capacity of the virus, and initial analysis from the World Health Organization has shown promising signs.

“It could save thousands of lives a day,” said Paul Marik, from the Eastern Virginia Medical School. “The data is compelling: across Mexico, India and South America, mortality has fallen.”

Peter Horby, the Oxford University professor who helped to set up the UK’s largest COVID-19 trials, said this month the latest data was “interesting, perhaps encouraging, but not yet convincing.”

Most breakthroughs in coronavirus treatments to date work on patients who are already suffering in the later stages of the illness, but Butler and his team are hoping to find a medicine that can prevent the virus from taking hold within its host.

The trial is looking for people aged 65 and over, or those aged over 50 who have underlying health conditions, through general practitioners, online, and through the UK’s NHS Test and Trace system, The Times said.

Categories
General

Britons who have received first Covid jab must stay at home for THREE WEEKS so immunity kicks in – Daily Mail

People who have received their first Covid-19 jab must stay at home for three weeks after their injection because it can take that long for immunity to ‘kick in’, Professor Jonathan Van-Tam warned last night.

He said that while getting vaccinated was ‘something to celebrate’, recipients of the jab needed to ‘stay patient’.

The caution of England’s Deputy Chief Medical Officer comes amid concern from Ministers that vaccinated people might start mixing with others or relax their social distancing too soon.

That could be deadly for elderly recipients of the vaccine, who make up the bulk of those who have had it so far, and risk spreading the virus more widely among the population at large.

Prof Van-Tam said: ‘Regardless of whether someone has had their vaccination or not, it is vital everyone follows the national restrictions and public health advice, as protection takes up to three weeks to kick in and we don’t yet know the impact of vaccines on transmission.’ 

The medic added that it was vital that people continue sticking to the lockdown rules even after they have had the vaccine because they can still spread the virus.   

Deputy Chief Medical Officer for England Jonathan Van-Tam during a media briefing on coronavirus (COVID-19) in Downing Street, London

Deputy Chief Medical Officer for England Jonathan Van-Tam during a media briefing on coronavirus (COVID-19) in Downing Street, London

Deputy Chief Medical Officer for England Jonathan Van-Tam during a media briefing on coronavirus (COVID-19) in Downing Street, London

‘So even after you have had both doses of the vaccine you may still give Covid to someone else and the chains of transmission will then continue,’ he wrote.  

‘If you change your behaviour you could still be spreading the virus, keeping the number of cases high and putting others at risk who also need their vaccine but are further down the queue.’

The warning from Prof Van Tam came as Britain’s daily Covid case total plunged by 18 per cent in a week after experts played down the Government’s ‘scaremongering’ claims that a UK variant of coronavirus is more deadly than the original strain.

A further 33,552 people tested positive for coronavirus on Saturday – a nearly 10,000 drop on the 41,346 recorded last Saturday. It brings the total number of cases in the UK since the start of the pandemic to 3,617,459.

Official figures also revealed 1,348 more people have died within 24 hours of testing positive for the virus – a rise of 4.1 per cent on last Saturday’s 1,295. 

But, in a positive sign Britain’s third wave of Covid fatalities could be slowing, last Saturday brought a 25 per cent week-on-week rise in daily cases, significantly higher than the increase seen today.  

Boris Johnson yesterday revealed that the Kent coronavirus strain – responsible for the soaring Covid cases recorded in the last month – could be 30 per cent more deadly than older versions of the virus.

However the PM has been accused of ‘scaremongering’ after failing to present any evidence to back up the terrifying development.

And the Scientific Advisory Group for Emergencies (Sage) – the body of scientists which has advised the Government throughout the pandemic – are only 50 per cent sure the new variant could be more fatal. 

Professor Robert Dingwall, who sits on the New and Emerging Respiratory Virus Threats Advisory Group (Nervtag) – the subcommittee of Sage which discussed the deadliness of the new strain on Thursday – said the claim that the variant is 30 per cent more lethal is on a ‘very fragile’ base of evidence and accused the Government of ‘exploiting public fear’ over the virus. 

Chief Scientific advisor Sir Patrick Vallance said during the press conference that evidence the strain is indeed more deadly is still ‘weak’. 

Public Health England medical director Dr Yvonne Doyle today revealed it is not ‘absolutely clear’ if a mutation of the virus first found in Kent is more dangerous.

Graham Medley, professor of infectious disease modelling at the London School of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine, said it is an ‘open question’ but not a ‘game changer’ in terms of dealing with the pandemic.

And Dr Mike Tildesley, a member of Sage subgroup the Scientific Pandemic Influenza Group on Modelling, said it was still too early to be drawing ‘strong conclusions’ about the suggested increased mortality rate. 

PHE’s Dr Doyle said it is still not ‘absolutely clear’ the new variant coronavirus which emerged in the UK is more deadly than the original strain. She said more work was needed to determine whether it was true.

She told the Today programme: ‘There are several investigations going on at the moment. It is not absolutely clear that that will be the case. It is too early to say.

‘There is some evidence, but it is very early evidence. It is small numbers of cases and it is far too early to say this will actually happen.’

Figures released today showed there were a further 1,079 cases of coronavirus in Wales and another 27 deaths. 

Meanwhile, a further 76 people have died from coronavirus in Scotland, while 1,307 more positive cases have been confirmed. 

There have been 12 more deaths due to Covid-19 in Northern Ireland, while a further 670 positive cases of the virus were also confirmed there on Saturday.

Separate figures published by the UK’s statistics agencies for deaths where Covid-19 has been mentioned on the death certificate, together with additional data on deaths that have occurred in recent days, show there have now been 113,000 deaths involving Covid-19 in the UK.

The Government also said that, as of 9am on Friday, there had been a further 33,552 lab-confirmed cases of coronavirus in the UK. 

The Sage paper cited three studies of the Kent strain: A London School of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine study (left) based on 2,583 deaths that said the hazard of death within 28 days of test for the mutant strain compared with non-mutant strains was 35% times higher An Imperial College London study (centre) of the Case Fatality Rate of the new mutant strain that found the risk of death was 36% times higher A University of Exeter study (right) that suggested the risk of death could be 91% higher. Both the Exeter and the Imperial studies were based on just 8% of deaths during the study period

The Sage paper cited three studies of the Kent strain: A London School of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine study (left) based on 2,583 deaths that said the hazard of death within 28 days of test for the mutant strain compared with non-mutant strains was 35% times higher An Imperial College London study (centre) of the Case Fatality Rate of the new mutant strain that found the risk of death was 36% times higher A University of Exeter study (right) that suggested the risk of death could be 91% higher. Both the Exeter and the Imperial studies were based on just 8% of deaths during the study period

The Sage paper cited three studies of the Kent strain: A London School of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine study (left) based on 2,583 deaths that said the hazard of death within 28 days of test for the mutant strain compared with non-mutant strains was 35% times higher An Imperial College London study (centre) of the Case Fatality Rate of the new mutant strain that found the risk of death was 36% times higher A University of Exeter study (right) that suggested the risk of death could be 91% higher. Both the Exeter and the Imperial studies were based on just 8% of deaths during the study period

Boris Johnson (pictured) yesterday revealed that the Kent coronavirus strain - called B.1.1.7 - could be 30 per cent more deadly than older versions of the virus

Boris Johnson (pictured) yesterday revealed that the Kent coronavirus strain - called B.1.1.7 - could be 30 per cent more deadly than older versions of the virus

Boris Johnson (pictured) yesterday revealed that the Kent coronavirus strain – called B.1.1.7 – could be 30 per cent more deadly than older versions of the virus

Government data up to January 22 shows of the 6,329,968 jabs given in the UK so far, 5,861,351 were first doses – a rise of 478,248 on the previous day’s figures.

Some 468,617 were second doses, an increase of 1,821 on figures released the previous day.

The seven-day rolling average of first doses given in the UK is now 328,882.

Based on the latest figures, an average of 397,333 first doses of vaccine would be needed each day in order to meet the Government’s target of 15 million first doses by February 15.

It comes after Sage’s warning revealing scientists are only 50 per cent sure the variant could be more fatal was handed to ministers just hours before the official address to the public from Downing Street last night.

Ministers were only informed about the development yesterday morning after members of Nervtag discussed the issue on Thursday.

The group found there was a ‘realistic possibility’ the variant resulted in an increased risk of death when compared with the original strain.   

Freedom day beckons: How Britain has achieved Europe’s best vaccine rollout as it aims to give jabs to the 15million most vulnerable people by February 15 

Britain’s vaccine rollout has been a huge success – with a record number of first doses (478,248) administered in a day, on Friday. This means the cumulative total across the UK is 5,861,351 (8.8 per cent of the total population). The achievement, the best in Europe, is due to a combination of the NHS’s well-established system for giving jabs such as against flu or MMR, and the Government’s foresight in placing advance orders for 357million doses from seven different manufacturers. Phase one of the strategy – inoculating the 15million most vulnerable – has a target completion for February 15. Experts believe this is when it may be safe to start to ease lockdown restrictions.

15 MILLION JABS BY FEBRUARY 15

ON TRACK TO SHIELD MOST VULNERABLE

Home-visit vaccinations are now being given to people unable to travel – in addition to all those arranged at 1,220 GP surgeries, hospitals and special centres. A nationwide team of 80,000 is giving the jabs with 200,000 volunteers offering to help out. 

JABS DONE AT PEAKY BLINDERS FILM SET 

Among 30 new vaccine centres opening tomorrow will be the Black Country Living Museum in Dudley, where the BBC drama Peaky Blinders was filmed. Other new sites include a former Ikea superstore in Stratford, East London; Winter Gardens Blackpool; Bath Racecourse and Debenhams in Folkestone, Kent.

THE BIG FIGHTBACK BEGAN A MONTH AGO 

A ray of light in the Covid darkness appeared on December 8 when the first doses of vaccine were distributed. The swift work of scientists – led in part by Britons – to find a way to defeat the virus had paid off. Undaunted by the immense task of inoculating 30million people twice, NHS staff began to put us on the path out of the series of lockdowns

VACCINE REFUSENIKS WHO COULD SABOTAGE WORLD PROGRAMME

Britons, according to surveys, are much more likely to agree to a jab than people in other countries. In France, anti-vaccine sentiment is one of the world’s highest – with a third of respondents not believing vaccines are safe. This has been compounded by the ineptness of officials, which meant that France had inoculated only 352 people by January 4 compared with more than a million in both the UK and Israel. A report by the Edelman Trust Barometer has suggested that 66 per cent of Britons are happy to be vaccinated. Other figures: Italy 65 per cent willing, Germany 62, United States 59, Spain 58, Japan 54, France 52 and Russia 40.

A further 32 coronavirus vaccine sites are set to open next week, including at a museum which was used as a set in hit TV show Peaky Blinders  

By Harry Howard for MailOnline 

A further 32 vaccine sites are set to open across the country this week, NHS England has said, including one at the museum made famous as the set of hit TV series Peaky Blinders.

A site has been set up at the Black Country Living Museum in Dudley, which featured in the long-running TV show.

Other sites roped into the vaccination effort include a race course, a show ground, a football stadium and a former Ikea store.

A further 32 vaccine sites are set to open across the country this week, NHS England has said, including one at the museum made famous as the set of hit TV series Peaky Blinders

A further 32 vaccine sites are set to open across the country this week, NHS England has said, including one at the museum made famous as the set of hit TV series Peaky Blinders

A further 32 vaccine sites are set to open across the country this week, NHS England has said, including one at the museum made famous as the set of hit TV series Peaky Blinders

The new vaccination centres will be focusing on offering jabs to health and social care staff on Monday, before opening their doors to other priority patients on Tuesday.

Black Country Living Museum to open as vaccination centre 

The Black Country Living Museum, made famous as a set for hit TV drama Peaky Blinders, is to open as a vaccination centre on Monday.

The Victorian-era heritage site, which has previously been used as a backdrop for the BBC show, will open its doors next week as one of the latest locations to help deliver the Government’s national Covid-19 vaccination rollout.

The opening, announced on Friday by NHS Black Country and West Birmingham clinical commissioning groups (CCGs), has been described as a ‘game-changer’ for Dudley and the surrounding area.

Latest figures from NHS England showed 97,310 jabs had been administered in the area by Thursday, since the national rollout began.

That places it second out of all Midlands areas in administering jabs, behind Birmingham and Solihull, where 98,536 total doses had been given.

The well-known landmark will be offering invite-only vaccines, with patients receiving letters to attend appointments, prioritising jabs for people most at risk of complications from Covid-19.

People are being urged not to call or contact the museum directly, but wait to be written to by the NHS.

The museum centre will complement existing GP-led vaccination services which are already up and running locally. 

NHS England said hundreds of thousands of letters have already been sent out to people over the age of 80 in the vicinity of the new sites inviting them to book a jab.

In the North East, a site has been set up in Sunderland’s Nightingale Hospital, while in the North West one will open in Blackpool Winter Gardens and another in Lancaster Town Hall.

In the Yorkshire and Humber region, one centre is housed at Sheffield Arena and one at Spectrum Community Health’s premises in Wakefield.

As well as the Black Country Museum, in the West Midlands centres have been prepared at Stoneleigh Park Agricultural Centre in Warwickshire, the Artrix Centre in Bromsgrove, Worcestershire, and the Daniel Platts Business Park in Stoke-on-Trent.

Residents of the East Midlands will soon be able to get vaccinated at the Peepul Centre in Leicestershire, the Derby Arena, the Royal Pavilion at Moulton Park in Northamptonshire and at a former Wickes Store in Mansfield in Nottinghamshire.

In the east of England, there is a site at the Peterborough City Care Centre, one at the Redgrave Children’s Centre in Luton and another Gainsborough Sports Centre, Ipswich.

To the west of England, a site is now located at the Telford International Centre in Shropshire.

In London and Greater London, there are sites at the Hornsey Central Neighbourhood Health Centre in Crouch End, one in an old Ikea unit at Westfield shopping centre in Stratford, another in the Francis Crick Institute in central London and one at the Hawks Road Health Clinic in Kingston.

In the South East, a vaccination centre has opened at Harlow Leisurezone in Essex, another at Oxford Kassam Stadium and one at Southampton Clinical Commissioning Group’s offices.

A site has been stationed at the Bath and West Showground in Somerset, and elsewhere in the South West there are sites at Bath Racecourse and at Salisbury City Hall.

There is also a centre at Plymouth Argyle FC’s stadium Home Park, another at the Westpoint Exhibition Centre in Exeter and one at Devon Stithians Showground in Truro, Cornwall.

On the South Coast, a vaccination site has opened at the Brighton Centre and one at Debenhams, Folkestone.

The new centres will mean there is a network of 49 mass vaccination sites across England.

There are also 70 pharmacies offering the jab, as well as more than 1,000 GP surgeries and 250 hospitals

As of the end of the day on Friday, 5.9 million people had received their first dose of the vaccine across the UK.

A site has been set up at the Black Country Living Museum in Dudley, which featured in the long-running TV show

A site has been set up at the Black Country Living Museum in Dudley, which featured in the long-running TV show

A site has been set up at the Black Country Living Museum in Dudley, which featured in the long-running TV show

Sir Simon Stevens, NHS chief executive said: ‘The whole of the NHS has mobilised to set about delivering this huge Covid-19 vaccination programme, and as more supply becomes available, we’re able to expand its reach and scale.’

Health Secretary Matt Hancock appealed to the public to stick to social distancing measures as the vaccine roll out continues.

‘While the vaccine can prevent severe disease, we do not know if it stops you from passing on the virus to others, and it takes time to develop immunity after a jab,’ he said.

‘So for now everyone must continue to stay at home to help bring down infections and protect the NHS.’

Those eligible for a vaccine will receive a letter and should not contact the health service, NHS England said.

You cannot get a vaccine just by turning up, and those given a time slot are asked not to arrive early to prevent queues and overcrowding.

Thousands of rapid turnaround tests are being handed out to businesses to test workers who DON’T have symptoms 

Thousands of rapid turnaround coronavirus tests are being handed out to businesses to test workers without symptoms.

The Government announced a rollout of rapid testing in industries including food, manufacturing, energy and retail sectors, as well as job centres, transport networks and the military.

Around 734,600 lateral flow tests, which can give results in less than 30 minutes, have been distributed across the public and private sector so far.

Organisations signed up to workplace testing include Royal Mail, sugar giant Tate & Lyle, energy supplier Octopus Energy and DVLA.

Last month, more than 350 cases of Covid-19 had been identified among workers at the DVLA offices in Swansea, but a spokesman said cases have since gone down to zero and workplace testing has been in place ‘for a couple of weeks’.

Health Secretary Matt Hancock said: ‘By offering rapid testing in the workplace, we are offering additional peace of mind to those who are unable to work from home during the current lockdown.

‘Lateral flow tests have already been hugely successful in finding positive cases we would not otherwise find and I encourage employers and workers to take this offer up to help protect essential services and businesses.’

Additionally, community-based testing is being rolled out to all local authorities in England, with councils being encouraged to target testing to people who are unable to work from home.

Some 156 local authorities have set up community testing programmes so far, with more than seven million tests delivered to participating areas.

The Government is also making millions of rapid test kits available to the NHS, care home staff, primary care such as GPs, schools, colleges and universities.

Around 17 million tests have been approved for use at GP surgeries, pharmacies, dental practices and opticians, of which 7.5 million have been distributed.

Meanwhile, more than 25 million tests have been provided to NHS staff so far for home testing twice a week.

Lateral flow tests have drawn criticisms from some experts who questioned their accuracy, with vocal critic Jon Deeks, professor of biostatistics at the University of Birmingham, previously arguing people should not be told that lateral flow tests are ‘better than they are’.

However, in a study published this week, researchers at Oxford University said rapid tests could be effective in quickly detecting the most infectious cases in a relatively cheap way.

Categories
General

Keeping fit in your 50s staves off dementia – The Times

A healthy heart in middle age lowers the risk of developing dementia later in life, according to a landmark study.

Those who regularly exercise, eat and drink healthily, quit smoking and cut their salt intake in their 40s and 50s boost their chances of avoiding or delaying the onset of the condition decades later.

The findings, published in the journal PLOS Medicine, emerged from a 36-year study which has tracked the health of more than 10,000 Britons since 1985.

Researchers at Oxford University and University College London (UCL) said the results highlighted the importance of making lifestyle changes in middle age.

Most people know that they can reduce their risk of dementia by stimulating their brain — learning a new language, studying for new qualifications,

Categories
General

COVID-19: More than 4,000 coronavirus patients are on a ventilator – a new record – Sky News

The UK has hit another milestone in the COVID-19 pandemic, with the number of patients on a ventilator passing 4,000 for the first time.

A total of 4,076 COVID-19 patients are using a ventilator in the UK, according to government data.

The number of people using a ventilator in UK hospitals is now higher than it was at the first peak of the outbreak in spring last year.

Please use Chrome browser for a more accessible video player

Losing a family to coronavirus in five days

Patients on ventilators are generally among those suffering from the most severe symptoms of coronavirus.

The record rise in the number of ventilator beds being filled comes as the UK recorded another 1,348 coronavirus-related deaths on Saturday, bringing the total to 97,329.

However, the seven-day rolling average on positive tests shows that infections are now falling, which suggests that lockdown may be having an effect on case rates.

It is expected that hospitalisations will continue to rise into next week, despite the fall in infections, due to a lag in the amount of time it takes for someone to be admitted with the virus.

As of Friday, more than 5.8 million Britons have had at least the first dose of a COVID-19 vaccine since the start of the rollout last month, with scientists and medics hoping that by giving jabs to the priority groups, hospitalisations and deaths will fall to manageable levels.

However, senior doctors have called on England’s chief medical officer to halve the gap between the first and second doses of the Pfizer coronavirus vaccine.

The British Medical Association (BMA) said the gap between doses being given to patients should be cut from 12 weeks to six.

Professor Chris Whitty, the chief medical officer, defended the move, telling a Downing Street news conference on Friday: “By extending the time, we’re allowing many more people to be vaccinated.”

Subscribe to the Daily podcast on Apple Podcasts, Google Podcasts, Spotify, Spreaker

He said that the first dose gives the main bulk of the protection, but the exact number differs by vaccine.

“In both cases, we think the great majority of protection is given by the first vaccine,” he said, adding: “It lasts for a reasonable period of time.”

Categories
General

Coronavirus infection rates, cases and deaths for all parts of Wales on Saturday, January 23 – Wales Online

A further 27 people have died with coronavirus in Wales as another 1,079 people tested positive for the virus.

Latest figures from Public Health Wales published on Saturday, January 23, show 1,079 new cases of the virus have been recorded to bring the total since the pandemic began to 186,915. The overall death total with lab-confirmed coronavirus now stands at 4,487 in Wales.

Following the latest figures, the Wales infection rate is now down to 261 cases per 100,000 people based on the seven days up to January 18. That is a decrease on the 271 previously reported.

Moving below a level of 300 cases for every 100,000 and remaining there over a sustained period is one of the key benchmarks for moving out of alert level four lockdown.

However, other measures watched by the Welsh Government suggest any change may not come quickly. The percentage of tests coming back positive is still significantly above the 10% benchmark. See the full details of the lockdown tiers here.

PHW data also shows 240,547 people have now received a first dose of the coronavirus vaccine as of 10pm on Thursday, up 28,230 on the figure published on Friday.

This is an increase on the number reported on Friday, which was the biggest daily leap since the start of the vaccination rollout.

There are 469 people who have received both of their vaccine jabs.

Uptake of the first dose by priority group (according to PHW)

  • 80 years and older: 70,892 received first dose (38.7%).
  • Care home residents: 10,594 received first dose (63.2%).
  • Care home workers: 22,852 received first dose (72.3%).
  • Healthcare worker: 94,367 received first dose (percentage not given).

The percentage of tests producing positive results in the week to January 18 is now 16.3%, a fall on the 30% positivity rate recorded over the Christmas period. Locally, the areas with the highest positivity rates are Wrexham with 25%, Flintshire with 21.9% and Bridgend with 21.1%.

Key details

  • Deaths reported today: 27

  • Cases reported today: 1,079

  • .Number of tests carried out: 15,780 (Up from 14,968).

  • Total deaths with lab-confirmed coronavirus in Wales: 4,486.

  • Total number of people who have received a first dose of Covid-19 vaccine: 240,547.

  • Total number of people who have received a two dose course of Covid-19 vaccine: 469.

Wrexham remains the local authority with the highest infection rate in Wales with a seven-day rate of 609.8 cases per 100,000 population, which is down from 660.5 on Thursday.

Flintshire has the second highest rate with 453.6 cases per 100,000, down from 464.4 the day before.

Bridgend is third with 329.1 per 100,000 population, down from 330.5 .

Wrexham had the highest number of new cases reported on Saturday with 126, followed by Cardiff with 105, Carmarthenshire with 85, Rhondda Cynon Taf with 78, Flintshire with 72, Swansea with 61, Caerphilly with 59 and Newport with 51.

Bridgend reported 42 new cases, Vale of Glamorgan, 40, Denbigshire, 36, Powys and Pembrokeshire North, 35, Denbigshire, 36, and Neath Port Talbot, 31.

Torfaen reported 21 new cases, Blaenau Gwent 22, Monmouthshire 18, Gwynedd 20, Anglesesy 12, Conwy 24, Merthyr Tydfil 15 and Ceredigion 2.

Cases per 100,000 for rolling seven days (January 12 to January 18)

Aneurin Bevan University Health Board

Newport: 311.6 (Up from 309)

Torfaen: 240.5 (Down from 248)

Caerphilly: 220 (Down from 244.1)

Monmouthshire: 153.3 (Down from 187.1)

Blaenau Gwent: 151.7 (Down from 161.7)

Betsi Cadwaladr University Health Board

Wrexham: 609.8 (Down from 660.5)

Flintshire: 453.6 (Down from 464.4)

Denbighshire: 322.9 (Down from 331.3)

Gwynedd: 213.6 (Up from 203.9)

Conwy: 161.3 (Down from 169.8)

Anglesey: 139.9(Up from 131.3)

Cardiff and Vale University Health Board

Vale of Glamorgan: 267.2 (Down from 291.9)

Cardiff: 266 (Down from 282.1)

Cwm Taf Morgannwg University Health Board

Bridgend: 329.1 (Down from 330.5)

Merthyr Tydfil: 245.3 (Down from 263.6)

Rhondda Cynon Taf: 227.6 (Down from 245.4)

Hywel Dda University Health Board

Carmarthenshire: 256.9 (Down from 261.7)

Ceredigion: 158.2 (Upfrom 151.3)

Pembrokeshire: 188.4 (Up from 161.3)

Powys Teaching Health Board

Powys: 188.8(Down from 189.5)

Swansea Bay University Health Board

Neath Port Talbot: 256.1 (Up from 251.9)

Swansea: 168.8 (Down from 183)

Wales total – 260.9(Down from271)

Dr Chris Willaims, incident director for the coronavirus outbreak response at Public Health Wales, said: “Public Health Wales is working with Public Health England and other UK partners to monitor the impact and spread of the UK variant, and to detect and monitor other virus variants. As reported yesterday, there is evidence which suggests that the UK variant of concern may lead to a higher risk of death than the non-variant.

“We continue to investigate and respond to the spread of the variant and its impact in Wales. Evidence is still emerging and more work is underway to fully understand how it behaves.

“It is important to remember that all current variants of COVID-19 are still spreading and can cause severe illness and death. Therefore it is important to stay at home, and to reduce opportunities for spread by keeping your distance, washing hands regularly, and covering your face.”