The British government Monday launched an ambitious coronavirus vaccination plan, with the goal of having 15 million citizens inoculated by the middle of next month.
In a statement, the health department said the plan is to have 2,700 vaccination sites around the country, with one located within 16 kilometers of every person in Britain by the end of January. Health officials say rural areas will be served by mobile vaccination units.
The health department said officials hope to be able to deliver at least 2 million vaccinations per week by the end of the month, with all residents and staff in more than 10,000 care homes across Britain having access to the shot. The plan calls for 206 active hospital sites, as well as 1,200 local vaccination sites — including primary care networks, community pharmacy sites and mobile teams.
The health department said by the end of this month there will also be 50 mass vaccination centers around Britain. Prime Minister Boris Johnson, speaking with reporters at a newly opened center in Bristol, described the situation as "a race against time."
"We can all see the threat that our NHS (National Health Service) faces, the pressure it's under, the demand in intensive care units, the pressure on ventilated beds, even the shortage of oxygen in some places," he said.
Johnson said 2.4 million COVID-19 shots had been administered in Britain and that about 40% of 80-year-olds there had been vaccinated, along with around a quarter of elderly residents in care homes. COVID-19 is the illness caused by the coronavirus.
The death toll in Britain has been soaring. It now stands at more than 81,500 — the world's fifth-highest toll — while more than 3 million people have tested positive for the coronavirus, according to Johns Hopkins University.