Nightingale hospitals could be turned into 'mass vaccination centres'

The Nightingale hospitals could be used as mass vaccination centres when one becomes available.

The Prime Minister’s spokesman confirmed it is ‘one possible way’ of allowing significant numbers of people to be vaccinated.

As the UK’s death toll from coronavirus nears 50,000, the PM’s spokesman said Nightingale hospitals in Harrogate and Sunderland are ‘ready to take patients if necessary’.

The Manchester hospital is operational, while four other Nightingales are currently on standby for coronavirus cases.

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Last week, NHS England chief executive, Sir Simon Stevens, said a potential vaccination programme will see vaccines delivered at GP surgeries, pharmacies and mass testing centres, including at the Nightingale hospitals.

GPs will be put on standby from December should a vaccine be made available before Christmas, he said.

The ‘expectation’ is that any vaccination programme would begin in the new year, pending positive results from the vaccine clinical trials.

But preparations will likely be ramped up after it emerged Pfizer’s coronavirus vaccine is 90% effective in fighting the virus.

Earlier today, the government revealed its priority list for the roll-out of a vaccine.

Care home residents and people aged 80 and above will be the first to receive the vaccine.

The initial Phase 1 roll out will protect 99% of those at risk of death from Covid-19, an expert has said.

Joint Committee on Vaccination and Immunisation chairman Professor Wei Shen Lim said priority groups ‘may change’ but current thinking is they would start with care home residents and workers, then older individuals, going down age groups to the over-60s.

He said adults with underlying health condition would then be prioritised before the over-50s during phase one of the programme.

‘If phase one is completed then we will have protected hopefully over 99% of those individuals who are at risk of dying from Covid-19,’ he said.

Officials have not decided who should be vaccinated after phase one.

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