The success of the COVID vaccine rollout across the UK has meant the government is not currently recording those who have refused the jab.
And those rates have meant that the government is not keeping track of the people from the first four priority groups who have turned it down, vaccines minister Nadhim Zahawi has said.
Speaking on Radio 4’s Today programme, Zahawi confirmed that the names of all those who have been given the jab “goes into the national immunisation and vaccination system”.
However, when pressed if data gets recorded if people refuse to have the vaccine, Zahawi replied: “At the moment the uptake is so high amongst the four cohorts that we're vaccinating.”
Zahawi said the government would “look at” the refusal rates, but insisted that “this is the highest uptake of any vaccination programme, including the flu vaccination programmes that the NHS has run”.
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He added: “Currently the good news is the UK is a standout country in terms of people actually wanting to keep themselves safe by being vaccinated and keeping their families and communities safe as well.”
Zahawi’s comments come two weeks after the National Care Association (NCA) raised concerns about the number of carers taking up the COVID vaccine.
Ian Somauroo, who owns the Meadows Care Home in Greenford, told Sky News that half of his staff had refused the jab and called on the government to do more to combat misinformation.
Reacting to the care home refusals, Nadra Ahmed, chair of the NCA, said: "I'm very concerned, because it's a real form of tension and anxiety for the provider, to know that they will have people in their services who potentially are carrying the virus and could be asymptomatic.
"I think it's a major hurdle for us to get over this. Because we know the vaccination is a key that will assist us to mitigate the risks.”
As the rollout of the vaccine continues, it was announced on Thursday that a government-backed study is being launched to determine whether different coronavirus vaccines can safely be used for the first and second doses.
The programme, which has received £7m in funding from the government’s vaccine taskforce, aims to establish whether a mixed-dose vaccine regimen is better than, or a good alternative to, using two doses of the same COVID-19 jab.
Zahawi said the study would not impact on the current rollout.
He told Sky News: “It will report probably after the summer and of course it will have no impact on the deployment…
“This is more longer-term, keeping us ahead of – at least in a leadership position, I should say – in the world, in helping the whole world because no one is safe until we are all safe.
“If we understand more about how we can use vaccines together then we should be in a much stronger position in terms of vaccinating the United Kingdom, but also the rest of the world.”
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