Mass Covid-19 vaccination centres opened across seven locations in England today (11 Jan) in an effort to boost the number of people inoculated against the virus.
The new centres include football grounds and conference centres, and will be joined later this week by more GP-led and hospital services.
Increasing vaccine rollout
The following seven venues across England will now serve as mass vaccination centres:
- Robertson House, Stevenage
- The ExCel Centre, London
- The Centre for Life, Newcastle
- The Etihad Tennis Centre, Manchester
- Epsom Downs Racecourse, Surrey
- Ashton Gate Stadium, Bristol
- Millennium Point, Birmingham
These centres will offer Covid-19 jabs to people aged 80 and over, along with health and care staff, and will be capable of delivering thousands of jabs each week, scaling up or down according to supplies and demand.
The first 130,000 letters inviting people to attend for their jab began arriving this weekend, with more than 500,000 to follow.
The letters have been sent to people aged 80 or over who live 30 to 45 minutes drive from one of the seven new sites and explain how they can book a slot, either over the phone or online through the national booking service.
Nurses, doctors, physios and other NHS staff working nearby are also being jabbed at the centres, along with social care and care home workers.
Health Secretary Matt Hancock, who is due to visit one of the sites, will set out the vaccine delivery plan at a Downing Street press conference today.
He said: “Through our vaccine delivery plan we have already provided a first dose to more than 1.2 million people in England and we are mobilising the government, NHS and the armed forces as part of a massive national effort.
“The vaccination centres are an important milestone and will help accelerate the rollout further.
“They will work hand in hand with GPs, pharmacies, hospitals and care homes to offer vaccines to everyone in the top four priority cohorts, saving thousands of lives and helping us start to return to normal in the future.”
Nadhim Zahawi, the minister in charge of vaccine deployment, said the plan will set out the government’s ambitious plans for the coming weeks and months, as it works to issue the jabs at “breakneck speed”.
Millions to be vaccinated by March
The Government has set a target of vaccinating up to 13 million people by mid-February, with every adult in the UK to be vaccinated by autumn.
Mr Hancock has said they are on course to meet the target, with more than 200,000 people being vaccinated every day in England, and a third of over-80s have already received the jab.
Prime Minister Boris Johnson has promised to provide daily updates on the number of people who have had the vaccine to keep the nation in the loop as it battles to contain further spread of the virus.
Almost 1,000 vaccination sites are already set up across the country, with the vast majority (almost 800) being GP-led services, which are expected to deliver most of the vaccinations.
The seven new centres will open alongside almost 200 new GP services and more hospital services this week, while hundreds of pharmacy-led services will also start delivering vaccinations at a handful of pilot sites starting this week.
More than 80,000 people have trained to deliver the vaccines and will be deployed as supplies allow the programme to expand.
This will take the total vaccination hubs to around 1,200, according to NHS England.
The Prime Minister said: “Our plan is to vaccinate as many people as possible across the entire United Kingdom as quickly as we can. And with more than 1,000 vaccination sites across the country, including seven new mass vaccination centres, we will help protect hundreds of thousands of vulnerable people over the coming weeks as we accelerate towards offering 12 million people the jab in England by the middle of February.
“There are deeply challenging weeks ahead, but today signals another significant step forward in the race to protect the public, and defeat the virus.”