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The NHS will begin vaccinating patients against coronavirus at dozens of hospital hubs from this week at the start of the biggest immunisation programme in history.
People aged 80 and over as well as care home workers will be first to receive the jab, along with NHS workers who are at higher risk.
NHS staff are working through the weekend to prepare for the launch of the programme with the first vaccinations happening from Tuesday.
There are 50 hubs in the first wave and more hospitals will start vaccinating over the coming weeks and months as the programme ramps up.
Patients aged 80 and above who are already attending hospital as an outpatient, and those who are being discharged home after a hospital stay, will be among the first to receive the life-saving jab.
Hospitals will also begin inviting over 80s in for a jab and work with care home providers to book their staff in to vaccination clinics.
Any appointments not used for these groups will be used for healthcare workers who are at highest risk of serious illness from covid. All those vaccinated will need a booster jab 21 days later.
GPs and other primary care staff are also being put on standby to start delivering the jab. A small number of GP-led primary care networks will begin doing so during the following week (week beginning 14 December) with more practices in more parts of the country joining in on a phased basis during December and in the coming months.
Vaccination centres treating large numbers of patients in sporting venues and conference centres will subsequently stand up when further supplies of vaccine come on stream.
Professor Stephen Powis, NHS national medical director, said: “Despite the huge complexities, hospitals will kickstart the first phase of the largest scale vaccination campaign in our country’s history from Tuesday. The first tranche of vaccine deliveries will be landing at hospitals by Monday in readiness.
The NHS has a strong record of delivering large scale vaccination programmes – from the flu jab, HPV vaccine and lifesaving MMR jabs – hardworking staff will once again rise to the challenge to protect the most vulnerable people from this awful disease.”
The life-saving vaccine is typically delivered by a simple injection in the shoulder but there is a complex and difficult logistical challenge to deliver from the manufacturers Pfizer to patients.
It needs to be stored at -70C before being thawed out and can only be moved four times within that cold chain before being used.
NHS staff have been working over the weekend to prepare the sites and accept deliveries.
Health Secretary Matt Hancock said: “This coming week will be an historic moment as we begin vaccination against COVID-19.
We are prioritising the most vulnerable first and over-80s, care home staff and NHS colleagues will all be among the first to receive the vaccines.
We are doing everything we can to make sure we can overcome significant challenges to vaccinate care home residents as soon as possible too.
I urge everybody to play their part to suppress this virus and follow the local restrictions to protect the NHS while they carry out this crucial work.”
The 50 hospital hubs in the first wave are:
- Mid and South Essex NHS Foundation Trust
- Milton Keynes University Hospital NHS Foundation Trust
- East Suffolk And North Essex NHS Foundation Trust
- North West Anglia NHS Foundation Trust
- James Paget University Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust
- Norfolk And Norwich University Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust
- Cambridge University Hospital NHS Foundation Trust
- East and North Hertfordshire NHS Trust
- Royal Free London NHS Foundation Trust
- Guy’s and St Thomas’ NHS Foundation Trust
- Croydon Health Services NHS Trust
- St George’s University Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust
- King’s College Hospital NHS Foundation Trust
- King’s College Hospital NHS Foundation Trust
- Walsall Healthcare NHS Trust
- Chesterfield Royal Hospital NHS Foundation Trust
- Sherwood Forest Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust
- University Hospitals Coventry And Warwickshire NHS Trust
- Royal Stoke Hospital
- Northampton General Hospital NHS Trust
- University Hospitals of Derby and Burton NHS Foundation Trust
- United Lincolnshire Hospitals NHS Trust
- Nottingham University Hospitals NHS Trust
- Shrewsbury And Telford Hospital NHS Trust
- Sheffield Teaching Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust
- North Cumbria Integrated Care NHS Foundation Trust
- Hull University Teaching Hospitals NHS Trust
- The Newcastle Upon Tyne Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust
- Leeds Teaching Hospitals NHS Trust
- South Tees NHS Trust
- Wirral University Teaching Hospital
- Liverpool University Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust
- Countess of Chester Hospital NHS Foundation Trust
- Salford Royal NHS Foundation Trust
- Stockport NHS Foundation Trust
- Blackpool Teaching Hospital
- Lancashire Teaching Hospital Trust
- Frimley Health NHS Foundation Trust – Wexham Park Hospital
- Oxford University Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust
- East Kent Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust – William Harvey Hospital
- Brighton And Sussex University Hospitals NHS Trust – Royal Sussex County Hospital
- Portsmouth University Hospitals Trust
- Royal Surrey NHS Foundation Trust
- Yeovil District Hospital NHS Foundation Trust
- Dorset County Hospital NHS Foundation Trust
- Royal Cornwall Hospitals NHS Trust
- University Hospitals Plymouth NHS Trust
- Great Western Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust
- Gloucestershire Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust
- North Bristol NHS Trust