Covid news – live: Hancock hopes virus will be ‘like flu by end 2021’ as PM urges people to get vaccine

Daisy LesterSat, 13 February 2021, 9:03 am

<p>Clinical staff prepares AstraZeneca Covid19 vaccine at an NHS vaccination centre in Ealing, west London</p> (EPA)
Clinical staff prepares AstraZeneca Covid19 vaccine at an NHS vaccination centre in Ealing, west London(EPA)

Ministers are visiting vaccine centres around the UK in a final push for uptake amid continuing resistance from some groups.

This move comes as the government rushes to meet the mid-February target of inoculating the most vulnerable with an estimated 10 per cent of over 70s yet to come forward for their first jab.

According to data published on Friday, more than 14 million have been vaccinated with their first dose while more than 530,000 have received their second dose. Head of NHS England, Sir Simon Stevens, said it had been “the fastest and largest vaccination campaign in history.”

On Friday, officials said England and Wales have already hit their target of offering the vaccine to the top four priority groups by 15 February. NHS England said on Friday that the top four groups in England had now “been offered the opportunity to be vaccinated”.

In Wales, First Minister Mark Drakeford thanked “everyone who had been working around the clock to reach this point”.

Meanwhile, Health Secretary Matt Hancock said he hoped new drugs set to arrive toward the end of 2021 could make coronavirus a “treatable disease.” Speaking to The Daily Telegraph, he said new treatments could turn “Covid from a pandemic that affects all of our lives into another illness that we have to live with, like we do flu. That’s where we need to get Covid to over the months to come”.