Matt Hancock grilled over 'ridiculous' form for vaccine
Downing Street said the new centres, which are dotted around the country, will be staffed by a combination of NHS staff and volunteers. A Government spokesperson said Armed Forces will also be available to help administer the rollout. The new vaccination hubs will be added to the 775 GP-led sites and 207 hospitals providing vaccinations by the end of the week. Confirming the new sites, Prime Minister Boris Johnson’s official spokesperson said: “They are opening next week. It may be the case that some open on a different day to others, but they will all open next week.”
Where is your nearest vaccination centre?
More vaccination centres are expected to open in the future, in addition to the seven confirmed on Wednesday, it is understood.
Vaccines Minister Nadhim Zahawi insisted there will be a “massive uplift” in the number of immunisations given this week.
The Government has not yet confirmed which plans will be in place for managing crowds heading to the centres on public transport.
More details will be released by the end of the week, but it’s understood people will only be able to attend on an appointment-only basis.
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According to Downing Street, the seven vaccine centres are in:
- Robertson House, Stevenage
- Excel Centre (Nightingale), London
- Centre for Life, Newcastle
- Etihad Tennis and Football Centre, Manchester
- Epsom Downs Racecourse, Surrey
- Ashton Gate Stadium, Bristol
- Millennium Point, Birmingham
The Government is yet to confirm what will happen to London’s NHS Nightingale Hospital, which was based at the Excel Centre.
A spokesperson was unable to say if the centre would be divided into two sections, one for vaccinations and another for treating Covid patients.
Mr Johnson has promised to vaccinate almost 14million people in the four top priority groups by mid-February.
The targeted groups are the over-70s, all older care home residents and their carers, all front-line health and social care workers and “clinically extremely vulnerable” people who were forced to shield last year.
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But there are concerns over how realistic the target is, with only 1.3million being vaccinated in the first month or so of the rollout.
In order for the high target to be reached, 300,000 vaccines will need to be injected every day.
Mr Zahawi insists he will “absolutely” meet the February target, but failed to confirm when the programme would reach 300,000 patients-a-day.
Doses are thought to be held up because each batch needs individual approval by the UK’s medicines regulator, the MHRA.
Mr Johnson told MPs he hoped for a “gradual unwrapping” of restrictions from mid-February or later.
The Prime Minister stressed the nation’s recovery is contingent on how many people get the vaccine.
He said: “We are in a tough final stretch, made only tougher by the new variant.
“After the marathon of last year we are indeed now in a sprint, a race to vaccinate the vulnerable faster than the virus can reach them. Every needle in every arm makes a difference.”
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