A card shown at Croydon University Hospital which will be given to patients following vaccination (Picture: PA)
Brits can expect to be given a coronavirus vaccine card after their jab, official pictures suggest.
Ministers have said people will not need ‘covid passports’ and this card appears to be more like a reminder to get a second dose, a glimpse of the NHS-branded document shows.
It reads: ‘Don’t forget Covid-19 vaccination… Make sure you keep this record card in your purse or wallet’. The card, which seems likely to be given to patients following the first of two jabs, also uses the slogan ‘Enjoy life. Protect yourself’, and continues: ‘Don’t forget to attend your appointment to have your second dose of vaccine. You will have your best protection after two doses.’
It comes as health officials said the UK should expect to receive as many as four million doses by the end of the year.
NHS Providers deputy chief executive Saffron Cordery said many hospital hubs had received their allocation of the initial 800,000 doses, and she expected there would be up to four million doses in the country by the end of December.
Ahead of Tuesday’s roll out of the Pfizer/BioNtech vaccine in the UK — reportedly dubbed ‘V Day’ by Health Secretary Matt Hancock — people over 80 have been told to worry if they are not called for the vaccine this month.
The vast majority of the age group — who are being prioritised alongside care home workers and NHS workers who are at higher risk — will have to wait until the new year to receive the jab.
Croydon University Hospital in south London was one of the first hospitals to take delivery of the vaccine over the weekend, with similar scenes unfolding around the country ahead of the rollout.
Nurses at the Royal Free Hospital, London, simulate the administration of the Pfizer vaccine on Friday (Picture: Yui Mok/PA)
Professor Stephen Powis, NHS national medical director, said the distribution of the vaccine would be a ‘marathon not a sprint’, while Chris Hopson, chief executive of NHS Providers, said people need to ‘hang fire’ and be assured they have not been forgotten if they have not received a letter or a phone call about the jab.
Mr Hopson said: ‘I don’t think people should expect anything over the next few days because the reality is, as I said, that for the vast, vast, vast majority of people this will be done in January, February, March.’
‘And the one thing that we don’t want people to get anxious about or concerned about is “Where’s my letter?” in December.’
He added: ‘People really shouldn’t worry if they’re over 80 and they haven’t had a letter.
‘(They) just need to hang fire and wait for a proactive communication.
‘Don’t worry, we haven’t forgotten you, and we’ll certainly tell you at the point at which you need to start worrying if you haven’t been contacted, but that will be many, many weeks away.’
The UK has ordered 40 million doses of the Pfizer/BioNTech jab, enough to vaccinate 20 million people, as people need to receive two doses.
There are 800,000 doses in the first , meaning 400,000 people will be vaccinated initially.
There are challenges to overcome with vaccinating care home residents despite them being at the top of the priority list, but Mr Hopson said this would begin in around a week’s time and would be led by primary care networks.
Logistical issues mean there are difficulties in delivering the Pfizer jab to residents, as it needs to be stored at -70C before being thawed out and can only be moved up to four times within that cold chain before being used.
Care home residents in Scotland will be able to receive the vaccine from December 14.
The distribution of the vaccine across the UK is being undertaken by Public Health England and the NHS in England, Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland through systems specially adapted from those used for the national immunisation programmes.
On arrival in Croydon, the batch of vaccines was unboxed by a pharmacy technician wearing specific protective equipment to ensure safe handling at such cold temperatures.
After going through final quality control checks, batches will be placed in freezers to ensure they are kept at the right temperature until being used.
The first 50 hubs for England were announced yesterday, with more hospitals starting to vaccinate over the coming weeks and months as the programme ramps up.
It is not known when exactly all 50 hubs will receive vaccine doses, as they are starting to administer the jab at different times, but deliveries are expected throughout the week.
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