Britain’s coronavirus vaccine postcode lottery was laid bare today after a number of celebrities revealed they have already been given their first dose.
US singer Courtney Love today thanked the NHS after getting jabbed. The 56-year-old — whose representatives say has an underlying health condition that makes her eligible — left Los Angeles and relocated to London in the autumn of 2019.
Ruth Langsford, the 60-year-old This Morning presenter, said she was ‘so grateful’ to receive hers yesterday, thanking everyone involved in an Instagram update.
Nigella Lawson has claimed her ‘head is in a spin’ at being offered the Covid vaccine. The 61-year-old TV chef revealed she had been sent a text message on Valentine’s Day inviting her for a jab.
Gardeners’ World presenter Monty Don, 65, also praised the NHS after getting his yesterday. It’s not clear whether any of the three TV personalities have underlying health conditions that would put them on the vaccine priority list.
British reality show host Nadia Essex, 39, who has no health issues, also revealed she was also offered the vaccine last Thursday but said she turned it down because she felt too guilty.
The handful of cases underline the disparity in the speed at which older people are being offered the vaccine in different places across the country. Wales has already began inviting over-50s, while Northern Ireland started offering appointments to over-65s in January.
Starting today, NHS England has officially moved onto the next stage of the roll-out, inviting over-65s and younger people with underlying health conditions. The national guidance up until now was to focus on the top four priority groups — over 70s, NHS staff, care home residents and workers, and seriously-ill adults.
But over-60s in some areas leading the way in the vaccine roll-out have already been contacted. NHS bosses say local health teams can make their own way down the list of nine priority groups, so long as they have attempted to reach everyone above them.
Official figures suggest that more than 2million Brits in the top four priority groups have still yet to be vaccinated, despite ministers saying they have all been offered a jab.
Nigella Lawson has said her ‘head is in a spin’ at being offered the Covid vaccine – ahead of thousands of over-65s elsewhere in the country
In a post referencing the lyrics to 1980’s Feels Like I’m in Love, the TV chef said: ‘In the words of Kelly Marie, My head is in a spin/ my feet don’t touch the ground…’
Nigella is not the only under-60 celebrity to get booked in for their Covid jab, with This Morning’s Ruth Langsford revealing she was vaccinated yesterday
Vaccine: Courtney Love has received the COVID-19 vaccine in the UK, despite the jab only currently being offered to the vulnerable and those over the age of 65
Age 39 and no health woes: Reality star Nadia Essex took to Twitter to reveal she had been offered the vaccine already but felt guilty for taking it so soon in the roll-out
A large number of these will be people who have refused them, but there are fears the vaccine programme is failing to reach housebound Brits.
Matt Hancock today said uptake of the vaccine so far had been ‘much higher than expected’, with more than 90 per cent of over-70s turning up to their appointments.
No10’s vaccine plan estimates there are around 8.8million Brits in this group, meaning only 7.9million have been jabbed — leaving 900,000 unprotected.
But the Health Secretary also claimed uptake was just two-thirds in social care staff. No10’s vaccine delivery plan says there are around 500,000 care home staff and 1.4million social care workers.
It is not clear whether his uptake figure represented both groups — but it would mean only 1.3million have been jabbed, if he did. Therefore, it would 600,000 unprotected.
In an interview with Sky News, Mr Hancock also revealed that uptake was 80 per cent in NHS workers, of whom there are around 2.4million. This would mean another 500,000 have yet to have their first dose.
And he added that uptake among the UK’s approximately 300,000 eligible care home residents is around 90 per cent, leaving around 30,000 unvaccinated.
But Mr Hancock did not offer an estimated uptake figure for the clinically vulnerable.
Around 1.2million Britons are listed in that group because they have conditions such as diabetes or kidney disease.
If uptake was around 80 per cent — the same level for NHS staff, it would mean that around 950,000 have been vaccinated. Therefore, another 250,000 haven’t yet been jabbed.
It came after NIgella Lawson became the latest celebrity to be offered a vaccine ahead of vulnerable Brits.
She tweeted’I have just had a beautiful text saying the words I really wanted to hear this Valentine’s: it’s from the NHS and they’re calling me in for my first jab!’
Nigella, who is currently on TV with her show Cook, Eat, Repeat, is not the only celebrity to get booked in for their Covid jab this week.
Both Monty Don and Ruth Langsford received their first vaccination yesterday.
Ruth, the 60-year-old star of This Morning said she was ‘so grateful’ to receive hers, thanking everyone involved in an Instagram update.
Monty Don, who is 65, praised the NHS following an ‘immensely impressive service’.
The news appears to show disparity in the speed at which older people are being offered the vaccine in different places across the country.
Starting from today, over-65s and younger people with underlying health conditions in England will be offered the vaccine as the programme moves down through the priority list. The national guidance has up until now been to focus on the top four priority groups due to uneven coverage around the country.
NHS bosses say local health teams can make their own way down the list of nine priority groups, so long as they have attempted to reach everyone above them.
Wales started inviting over-50s for their jab today. Northern Ireland has been inviting those aged 65 to 69 to book a vaccination at seven regional centres since the end of January.
Scotland expects all over-65s there to have got their first dose by the end of February.
Mr Hancock said uptake of the vaccine so far had been ‘much higher than expected’, with more than 90 per cent of over-70s turning up to their appointments.
The figure was ‘a little bit lower than 90 per cent’ among healthcare staff, he said, and only around two-thirds of social care workers have had the vaccine.
Almost 1.2million letters are due to have landed on the doorsteps of over-65s and the clinically vulnerable over the weekend in England, asking people to log onto the national booking service.
A further 1.2million are due to arrive this week, with those to receive a letter able to choose from more than 100 vaccination hubs or almost 200 pharmacy services.
Last night, Mr Johnson described the country’s rollout – the third best in the world in terms of vaccination rate – as an ‘extraordinary feat’. He also said that the country can go forward ‘with great confidence’.
Ministers are set to discuss plans to allow for shops to re-open, families to be re-united and self-catering staycations to be given the go ahead within weeks if Covid-19 infection rates continue to plummet amid the vaccine rollout.
It has led to growing hope that families will be able to meet outside by Easter as early as next month to allow children to reunite with their grandparents.
The Government will now aim to dish out 32million jabs to all those at risk in just 10 weeks.
After the over-65s and 16-64s with underlying health conditions – two groups which together contain more than 10million people – the Government aims to vaccinate the 55-60s and then the over 50s by the end of April.
The remaining adult population, around 21million people, will then be offered their jabs by autumn.