UK opens mass vaccination centers to help curb rising COVID-19 infections
Epsom, England – As the total number of reported worldwideIn more than 90 million cases, mass vaccination centers have opened across the UK as the government struggles to protect the most vulnerable. The UK has lost 30,000 people to COVID-19 in the past 30 days alone, and officials say the worst outbreak looms in the coming weeks if the new, highly contagious variant of the virus spreads.
CBS News correspondent Charlie D’Agata was at one of the new mass vaccination stations at the famous Epsom Downs racecourse south of London when it stepped into action.
As he reports, a big difference between thatand the UK is an organization. Everyone who shows up at vaccination centers in the UK has received a letter asking them to make an appointment. Another key factor: you use the University and AstraZeneca which are much easier to store and distribute but are still pending approval in the US.
Starting this week, as many endangered members of the population as possible are to be reached on the sprawling Epsom racecourse before the runaway strain of the corona virus, which was first discovered in south-east England, does.
This includes 88-year-old Cliff Taylor, a former jockey who previously raced at Epsom Downs.
“The sooner we all get our vaccinations, the sooner we can get rid of this terrible disease,” he told D’Agata, adding that, in his opinion, “anyone who refuses – wants a second thought about it.”
There has been very little thought among those who moved to central Epsom, an area south of London where deaths from COVID-19 have soared that a temporary morgue has had to deal with the overflow of bodies.
Thousands lined up for their vaccinations without hesitation.
“No, my mom really wanted it,” Lucinda Cooper told CBS News as she escorted 80-year-old mom Nicola Young to Epsom Racecourse. “She was delighted with the letter and couldn’t wait.”
Seven super vaccination centers opened this week in the UK, with 200 hospitals and hundreds of medical practices already providing vaccinations.
The ambitious goal is to have an initial vaccine injection for around 15 million of the most vulnerable people by mid-February.
The stakes could hardly be higher: the introduction of mass vaccination comes as UK Chief Medical Officer Chris Witty warns the UK is heading for the most dangerous weeks since this pandemic began.
In hospitals from London to Cornwall, the burden on hospitals is brutal and getting worse. In the UK, more than 82,000 people have died from COVID-19 – the deadliest outbreak in Europe.
Despite aThe new strain has been in place for a little over a week. It is estimated that one in 50 people across the country carries the virus. In London, experts believe the number could be as high as one in 20.
“It’s a race against time,” warned Prime Minister Boris Johnson. “We can all see the threats to our National Health Service (NHS), the pressures it is under, the demand in intensive care units, the pressures on ventilated beds, and in some places even the lack of oxygen.”
Right now, centers like the one in Epsom are open from 8 a.m. to 8 p.m., but the government is under pressure to adopt the model used in Israel, where vaccinations are offered 24 hours a day.
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