One of the country’s first seven centres for mass vaccination against Coronavirus will open in Stevenage this week.
The centre at Robertson House will initially be used to inoculate people from part of our region who are aged 80 and over.
Thousands of letters are currently being sent to those eligible at this stage and who live within a 45 minute drive of the site, urging them to make an appointment.
The letter explains how they can book a slot over the phone or online through the national booking system.
Nurses, doctors, physios and other NHS staff working nearby will also be jabbed at the centres, along with social care and care home workers.
Prime Minister Boris Johnson said: “With covid cases at record levels and a tragic number of people losing their lives to this vicious disease, we are once again asking everyone to stay at home in order to stop its spread and protect our NHS.
“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.”
Another significant step forward in the race to protect the public, and defeat the virus
NHS national medical director Professor Stephen Powis said: “The coronavirus vaccination programme, the largest in NHS history, has got off to a strong start.
“With more vaccine supplies now coming on stream we are rapidly accelerating the programme and these large scale NHS vaccination centres are an important new way for people to get the life-saving jab, alongside our GP and hospital services.
“NHS staff are under huge pressure with big rises in coronavirus infections leaving record numbers needing hospital treatment but are still pull out all the stops to deliver Covid jabs as swiftly as we can.”
Health Secretary and West Suffolk MP Matt Hancock 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.”
Similar centres will also open in London, Birmingham, Bristol, Manchester, Epsom and Newcastle. More centres are expected to be up and running by the end of the month.
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.
The invitations to attend are being issued to people aged 80 or over who are not listed as having been vaccinated at a hospital or GP service.
Number of vaccine invitation letters due to be sent out nationally this week
If they have 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.
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 and then be observed for 15 minutes. The process should take well under an hour.