Covid vaccination: priority for over-50s and other stories

The final group on the priority list for the COVID-19 vaccination are now being contacted to book their vaccination.

In England, people aged over 50 are part of the priority list and the government aims for people in this age group to be vaccinated by May. 

All the population aged over 50 is part of the priority groups 1 to 9 and the government predicts the second dose should be administered up to 12 weeks after the first.

The Health Secretary, Matt Hancock, urged everyone in these top nine priority groups to come forward and protect themselves. 

“Syringe and Vaccine” by NIAID is licensed under CC BY 2.0

Hancock says Oxford-AstraZeneca is safe

Thirteen countries have suspended the use of the Oxford-AstraZeneca vaccine because it might have caused blood clots to some vaccinated citizens around the world.

The European Medicines Agency (EMA) is investigating these cases of people vaccinated with Oxford-AstraZeneca and on Thursday will reveal their conclusions. 

The Health Secretary has emphasized that the World Health Organization and the EMA have stated the vaccine is safe. 

Matt Hancock has stressed that the vaccines are under review all the time and that everyone who gets the call, should get the jab.

Dominic Cummings gives evidence to the Commons Science Committee

Former chief advisor to the Prime Minister, Dominic Cummings, is giving evidence to an inquiry into the new UK research funding agency.

Before stepping down from his position late last year, Cummings had advocated for a UK version of the American DARPA (Defence Advanced Research Projects Agency).

Cummings has revealed this morning that a commitment to this project, which is being called ‘Aria’, was one of four conditions he set out to Prime Minister Boris Johnson before agreeing to work for Downing Street.

Other conditions included assurance that Brexit would get done and for the science budget to double. 

Cummings has also agreed to give evidence relating to Covid at a later date, but did state that the Department of Health was a ‘smoking ruin’ as it struggled to secure PPE last year.

Uber’s fares will not rise after UK drivers guaranteed benefits

Uber has insisted that its fares will not rise after announcing various new measures, such as paying drivers at least the National Living Wage for over-25s, paying all drivers holiday time based on 12.07% of their earnings and giving all drivers the freedom to choose if, when and where they drive. 

Jamie Heywood, regional general manager for Northern Europe at Uber, has expressed his hope that all operators will collaborate with these new improvements.

The company is trying to show willingness to change and the new rates of pay will come on top of free insurance to cover sickness, injury and maternity and paternity payments that occur since 2018 for all drivers.

UK drivers claimed the company had wrongly classified their employment status and in February Uber lost this legal battle.

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20 years later: Man arrested for Stuart Lubbock’s death

A 50-year-old man has been arrested in connection with the assault and murder of Stuart Lubbock which happened at entertainer Michael Barrymore’s home 20 years ago.

Lubbock, 31 was discovered in the pool of the TV presenter’s home on March 31st, 2001 at his then home in Roydon, Essex and later died in hospital.

On Wednesday Essex police said that the man detained who has not yet been named was taken into custody for questioning.

Alcohol, ecstasy and cocaine was found in Lubbock’s bloodstream and a post-mortem examination found that he had suffered “horrific” injuries.

Lubbock’s 76-year-old father who has only months to live after being diagnosed with terminal cancer said “all I’ve been living for is to get justice for Stuart.”

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