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Oxford professor claims NHS could vaccinate Britain in 5 days

Jonny Yang reports on Sir John Bell's claim that bureaucracy is unnecessarily slowing the UK's vaccination programme.

The Regius Chair of Medicine at Oxford, Sir John Bell, has commented that the NHS could vaccinate the whole country against COVID-19 in less than a week.  However, the Oxford professor claims NHS bureaucrats are standing in the way, costing the UK many more lives.

“The NHS has the theoretical capacity to immunise everybody in five days if they want to, but I don’t get the sense they are really motivated,” Bell told the Times.

Bell argues the criteria to volunteer as a vaccine helper is currently too stringent and is one of many things limiting the health services’ effectiveness.  

“Did you see the list of things you have to do to volunteer to help the inoculation programme? To impose it on people who are just sticking a needle in an arm is bonkers.”

The professor also called for authorities to start treating the pandemic like a war, and that they should drop everything to contain the virus spread.  He highlighted Israel’s vaccine programme, which at times was vaccinating 2% of its population a day, as a role model for the NHS.

According to Bell, the slow pace at which the NHS is proceedings is a failure of leadership, not of individual nurses and doctors.

“I think the frontline medics certainly see it as an emergency – those guys are working harder than anyone I’ve ever seen. They are eye-wateringly good, but you don’t get the [same] sense from the hierarchy in the NHS, the bureaucrats.”

As of January 16th, 3,559,179 people in the UK have received the first dose of the coronavirus vaccine and 447,261 have received the second dose.

Sir John Bell has been approached for comment.

Image: CDC via unsplash.com

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