NHS staff will start delivering COVID vaccinations at a rugby ground, racecourse, food court and cathedral today as the biggest immunisation programme in health service history grows.
Ten new large-scale Vaccination Centres, capable of jabbing thousands of people a week, are opening their doors in every health region across the country.
The new sites mean there will be 17 Vaccination Centres offering people an alternative to GP-led and hospital services, with more to follow.
There are already around 1,200 hospitals and GP-led services with newly published figures showing the NHS has delivered more than 3.79 million jabs so far, including vaccinating more than one in three people aged 80 and over.
The new sites will help to ensure that everyone in England is in easy reach of a vaccination service, including rural parts of the country like Boston and Norwich.
Last week the NHS in England vaccinated 140 people every minute and hopes to do even more people this week as vaccine becomes available.
Professor Stephen Powis, NHS England’s medical director, said: “The NHS vaccination programme has got off to a strong start with our hard-working staff delivering more than three million vaccinations while also dealing with the latest wave of coronavirus infections.
“This is accelerating as more vaccine supplies come on stream with more sites opening all the time so that we can protect as many people as swiftly as possible.
“The rapid progress we have already made is testament to NHS staff who are pulling out all the stops to vaccinate the most vulnerable while caring for so many people who are seriously ill with COVID.
“In the most challenging of circumstances we are seeing the very best of the NHS.”
The 10 new sites opening from Monday (18 January) are:
- Bournemouth International Centre
- Taunton Racecourse
- Blackburn Cathedral
- Salt Hill Activity Centre, Slough
- Norwich Foodcourt, Castle Quarter
- The Lodge, Wickford, Essex
- Princess Royal Sports Arena, Lincolnshire
- St Helens Rugby Ground
- Park and ride at Askham Bar, York
- Olympic Office Centre, Wembley, London
More than a million letters have gone out to people aged 80 and over inviting them to make an appointment at Vaccination Centre or pharmacy service.
Anyone who cannot or does not want to travel can wait to be vaccinated by their local GP service or hospital.
Nobody needs to contact the NHS, as people will be invited when it is their turn and people cannot get vaccinated by just turning up.
Appointments are staggered to allow for social distancing and people are urged not to turn up early to avoid queues.
The new vaccine centres will each be capable of delivering thousands of jabs each week but scaling up and down according to vaccine supplies and demand.
If anyone invited has received a jab since the letter was sent out or would prefer to wait to be invited to attend a hospital or GP service they can simply ignore it.
Those like care home residents who are unable to travel to vaccine centres, hospitals or GP-led sites are already being jabbed at home. Health and care staff are also being vaccinated at the 17 centres.
People who book in to a vaccine centre will be greeted by volunteers who will marshal carparks and register them when they arrive. Bookings are staggered to allow social distancing.
They will receive a health status check and a pre-vaccination assessment before they have their jab. The process should take well under an hour.
The NHS made history when Maggie Keenan became the first person in the world to be protected against coronavirus outside of a clinical trial when she received the Pfizer vaccine at Coventry Hospital on the 8 December.
The NHS was also the first health system to deliver the new Oxford AstraZeneca coronavirus vaccine when Brian Pinker, 82, was jabbed earlier this month.