Responding to today’s press conference from Downing Street, which was led by Prime Minister Boris Johnson and NHS England’s Dr Nikki Kanani, Dr Layla McCay, director of policy at the NHS Confederation, said:
“With more than 33 million people in the UK having now received their first jab and more than 10 million having received their second, NHS leaders and staff deserve to be immensely proud of the crucial role they are so efficiently playing in the nation’s fight against COVID-19. Particularly welcome is the news delivered by NHS England’s Dr Nikki Kanani about the dramatic improvements in vaccine uptake among those from ethnic minority backgrounds. Thanks to the innovative and dedicated work of leaders across the NHS – particularly in primary care – vaccine uptake has tripled among ethnic minority communities since February.
“Yet the Government, the NHS, and the public must remain vigilant against the spread of COVID-19. With multiple cases in the UK of mutant strains of the coronavirus from India and South Africa, it is vital that we do not overestimate current levels of public protection against COVID-19.
“With the Prime Minister’s recognition that another COVID-19 surge is predicted this year, it is essential that the health service be adequately supported to face this. Despite everything the NHS has been doing for patients, 4.7 million people are already waiting for NHS treatment, and the Government must not allow future surges of the virus to hinder efforts to reduce the health service’s huge treatment backlog.”