Mass vaccination centres: where are the 7 NHS Covid vaccine hubs in England - and how will they work?

The Centre for Life in Newcastle is one of the new sites

Monday, 11th January 2021, 1:17 pm

Seven new mass vaccination centres in England have opened as the nationwide jabs programme is accelerated.

Elderly people and healthcare workers were the first people to receive coronavirus jabs on Monday 11 January at the newly-opened vaccine hubs.

It comes as the number of patients in hospital with the virus reached an all-time high in England, and related deaths hit a grim 80,000 milestone over the weekend.

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The new hubs will have the capacity to vaccinate four people a minute (Getty Images)

Here’s everything you need to know about the mass vaccination centres - including where they are.

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How will the mass vaccination centres work?

The first 130,000 invitations asking people aged 80 or over to attend the seven new vaccination centres were sent out over the weekend (9 and 10 January).

NHS England has said more than half a million vulnerable people in that age group will be invited to the hubs in the coming week.

Invites will be sent to those who have not yet received a vaccine, and people who live less than 45 minutes drive away from one of the hubs.

Once an invitation has been received, recipients will need to reserve a slot over the phone or through the online booking service as soon as possible.

When they arrive at a hub, they will be met by volunteers and then registered, given a health status check and an assessment before being vaccinated.

After the inoculation has been given, patients will be observed for 15 minutes to make sure they do not experience a reaction.

The process, from start to finish, should take “well under an hour”, according to NHS England.

The new hubs will have the capacity to vaccinate four people a minute.

As well as over 80s, nurses, doctors, physios, carers and other local NHS staff will be vaccinated at the designated centres.

On the new sites opening, Boris Johnson said: “Our plan is to vaccinate as many people as possible across the entire United Kingdom as quickly as we can.

“There are deeply challenging weeks ahead, but today signals another significant step forward in the race to protect the public, and defeat the virus.”

Why have the centres been opened?

The new vaccination hubs were opened as an alternative to the existing sites at GP surgeries and hospitals across England.

They are intended to greatly speed up the vaccination programme as the pressure on NHS services grows, with Covid cases continuing to rise across the country.

The centres were also opened to help the government to reach its hefty inoculation targets.

Boris Johnson wants to vaccinate 14 million of the UK’s most vulnerable people by mid-February, which equates to more than two million jabs a week.

So far, about 1.5 million people have been given their first vaccine dose from the Pfizer/BioNTech and Oxford/AstraZeneca vaccines, with the newly-approved Moderna vaccine expected to arrive in the UK in March.

Health Secretary Matt Hancock claimed on Sunday 10 January that all adults nationwide will have been offered a vaccine by autumn 2021.

Where are the hubs?

Each mass vaccination centre is based in one of the seven NHS regions in England.

These are: Ashton Gate in Bristol, Epsom racecourse in Surrey, the Excel Centre in London, the Centre for Life in Newcastle, the Manchester Tennis and Football Centre, Robertson House in Stevenage and Millennium Point in Birmingham.

The first patient to receive his Oxford/AstraZeneca jab at the Centre for Life in Newcastle was 81-year-old Nana Kwabena Edusie.

Will more centres be opening?

More vaccination centres are expected to open by the end of January.

That’s on top of hundreds of new GP sites and some pharmacies which will start to administer injections, bringing the total number of places giving out inoculations to roughly 1,200, according to NHS England.