The NHS chief exec said enough Covid patients to fill an entire hospital are now arriving across England every day
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Covid deniers who spread anti-vaccine propaganda are putting lives at risk and need to “grow up”, Boris Johnson has said.
His sentiment was echoed by NHS chief exec Sir Simon Stevens who said that those who share misinformation about the spread of the virus contribute to people dying from Covid-19.
Sir Simon has said claims that hospitals are not under pressure from the rising coronavirus cases were a “lie”.
He said false claims on social media were changing behaviour in a way that could kill people and an “insult” to staff working in critical care.
“There is nothing more demoralising than having that kind of nonsense spouted when it is most obviously untrue,” he told a No 10 news conference.
Asked about the damage anti-Covid campaigners can cause, Mr Johnson said: “The kind of people who stand outside hospitals saying covid is a hoax: I really think they need to grow up”
In contrast to claims online that wards are empty, Sir Simon Stevens said enough Covid patients to fill an entire hospital are now arriving across England every day.
It came as Mr Johnson pledged that Covid-19 vaccine will reach “hundreds of thousands” of people per day by January 15
The Prime Minister said the Government was “throwing everything at it, round the clock if necessary” to get vaccines out.
Speaking at a Downing Street press conference, Mr Johnson said he had “no doubt” that the most vulnerable would receive the vaccine by mid-February, as he pledged when he plunged the nation into its third lockdown.
And he promised that every elderly care home resident will be offered the first dose of the jab by the end of this month.
Nearly 1.5 million people have now been vaccinated against coronavirus in the UK, including 1.26 million in England, the Prime Minister said.
There will be over 1,000 GP-led sites, 223 hospital sites, seven mass vaccination centres and a first wave of 200 community pharmacies providing jabs by the end of the week, Mr Johnson said.
He said: “If all goes well, these together should have the capacity to deliver hundreds of thousands of vaccines per day by January 15.
“And it is our plan that everyone should have a vaccination available within a radius of 10 miles.
“It follows from that that the limits will not be on our distribution power but on the supply of vaccines.
“I have no doubt that we have enough supply to vaccinate these four groups by the February 15 deadline and we also have the distributional network to do it and to continue an expanding programme down that priority list.”
Mr Johnson said the Army will be “using battle preparation techniques” to ramp up deployment plans, with full details to be published on Monday.
The approval of the Oxford vaccine at the end of December will allow the acceleration of the rollout in care homes, the PM said.
He told the press conference: “We’re using that vaccine in care homes for the first time today.
“And by the end of the month we hope to have offered every elderly care home resident a vaccine.
“Our new national booking service will also make it easier to book and access appointments so I urge everyone to come forward.”
The PM praised the British public for coming forward for the jab in large numbers, which means the UK has already vaccinated more people than all the other countries in Europe put together.
“But I can assure we are doing everything we can to vaccinate as many people as possible across our whole United Kingdom.
He admitted there would likely be “difficulties” but that the army had been drafted in to assist with set-up.
“Let’s be clear, this is a national challenge on a scale like nothing we’ve seen before and it will require an unprecedented national effort,” he told the press conference.
“Of course, there will be difficulties, appointments will be changed but … the army is working hand in glove with the NHS and local councils to set up our vaccine network and using battle preparation techniques to help us keep up the pace.”
NHS England boss Sir Simon Stevens said there will be a “huge acceleration” in the vaccination programme to meet the target in 39 days
He said the “bulk” of the vaccinations would be carried out at GP surgeries and pharmacies, but that the number of hospital hubs and large-scale vaccination centres were also being increased.
News – Boris Johnson says Covid deniers who claim pandemic is hoax need to ‘grow up’