NHS staff ‘seeing something they’ve never seen in their professional careers’
Professor Stephen Powis, national medical director of NHS England, tells Sky News seeing the first Oxford/Astra-Zeneca vaccine being given feels like an even greater day than the first Pfizer jab in Coventry last month.
“Our aim is to get vaccines into people’s arms as soon as we have them. If we have two million vaccines delivered a week, we want to get two million into people’s arms.”
He says “vaccinations are some of the effective medicines ever created”. He urged anyone who is told to have it, to go.
His response to people who don’t believe the strain on the NHS was: “You only have to talk to our wonderful staff in the NHS to see how much pressure they are under. We are now seeing severe pressure on our NHS hospitals and we are beyond the peak of last year.
“Don’t believe this is a normal winter for the NHS, it is anything but. Our staff are seeing something they’ve never seen in their professional careers.
“I’m confident our staff will be able to step up to the task but everyone needs to play a part.”
On the delay to giving people a second dose he says it’s “critical” as many people get “initial immunity as quickly as possible”.
He says: “This is not not giving people a second dose, it’s extending the length between the first dose and the second dose and that allows the maximum public health benefit to be gained.”