Timeline: When should you receive the coronavirus vaccine?
- Credit: Danielle Booden
With four million people in the UK having received their first jab, the coronavirus vaccination programme is gathering pace.
In some parts of England, patients over 70 and those deemed clinically vulnerable are now being offered appointments.
There is, however, a long way to go, with more than 130 million doses required to fully inoculate the nation's population of around 66 million.
But the question on many of our lips remains: when will I or my elderly relatives receive a vaccine?
Who is being prioritised?
Until now, those administered jabs have been care home residents, over-80s and frontline health and care workers.
They were prioritised in line with advice from the Joint Committee on Vaccination and Immunisation (JCVI).
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The priority list for the first phase of the roll-out is as follows:
- Care home residents and their carers
- Those aged 80 and over, and frontline health and care workers
- Those aged 75 and above
- Those aged 70 and above, and patients deemed extremely clinically vulnerable
- Those aged 65 and over
- 16 to 64-year-olds with serious underlying health conditions
- Those aged 60 and over
- Those aged 55 and over
- Those aged 50 and over
How many people have been vaccinated so far?
Government figures published on Monday revealed four million people in the UK have received their first dose of the vaccine.
During the latest Downing Street briefing, health secretary Matt Hancock, said more than half of the country's over-80s had been vaccinated.
He added that half of elderly care home residents have been inoculated.
But the West Suffolk MP highlighted that, in some parts of the country, the "vast majority" of people in their 80s have had their first dose
How many people will have been vaccinated after the first phase?
The nine high-priority groups cover around 32 million people - almost half of the UK's population.
When will the priority groups have been vaccinated by?
The government's aim is for everyone in the top four priority groups to have received their first dose of the jab by mid-February.
More immediately, commissioning groups across the nation have been told everyone in care settings should be vaccinated by January 24 "at the latest", where possible.
A letter written by NHS England's primary care directors says wide availability of the Oxford/AstraZeneca vaccine made the target achievable.
However, some care bosses have labelled the process of organising vaccinations in care homes a "postcode lottery".
As for the remainder, people aged 50 to 69 and 16 to 64-year-olds with underlying health conditions should come into the equation between February and April.
When might those under 50 receive a vaccine?
The aim is to have expanded the programme to all adults by autumn.
Further details of this second phase are expected to be announced in the spring.
When will I receive my second dose of the vaccine - and is it needed?
Last month, the JCVI adjusted its recommendation on how soon people should get their second doses, from 21 days to "within 12 weeks".
The UK's four chief medical officers therefore changed the focus of the vaccination programme to ensure as many as possible can receive a first dose.
For example, some over-80s vaccinated this week at Norfolk's new mass vaccination centre, Castle Quarter in Norwich, have already booked appointments for second doses in early April.
While a single dose of all vaccines approved by the Medicines and Healthcare products Regulatory Agency (MHRA) offers "considerable" protection, efficacy is "optimised" with the administering of a second.
Can I pay to receive a vaccine sooner?
No - the vaccine is only being being provided for free on the NHS.
You will only be contacted about receiving a jab once priority groups have been offered it first.
You should not organise a private vaccination or accept help from anyone offering to vaccinate you for a fee.