Additional hospital sites across England, from Devon to Birmingham and Lancashire, are set to join the network of sites rolling out the newly-approved Covid-19 vaccine programme.
Since the vaccination programme for the Pfizer/BioNTech vaccine began this week, thousands of people have received their first of two jabs required for vaccination.
Now more people around the country will have be able to access the vaccine, as the NHS and UK Government continues to scale up the vaccination drive.
Particularly given the vaccine is being first delivered to priority groups which include NHS staff and patients aged 80 and over – many of who would not be in a position to travel long distances to receive a vaccine.
Instead, there has been a concerted effort to prioritise vaccinating who are already attending hospital as an outpatient, or being discharged home after a hospital stay
The positive response seen among the general population to protect themselves, friends and family against coronavirus has been welcomed by health chiefs. They also issued a reminder that, at present, people would be invited to be vaccinated, so it was in everybody’s interests to wait for an invite rather than contacting their GP.
The introduction of additional sites, particularly those in areas such as Leicester and Kent where infection rates have been high, has been praised as further bolstering the country’s months-long campaign to get the country protected against Covid-19.
Professor Stephen Powis, National Medical Director for NHS England, said: “Having witnessed the excitement and significance of the first jab, it is extremely important and encouraging that more hospitals in every region of England are joining the mass mobilisation of the NHS to get people vaccinated.
“The vaccination programme is a turning point for the country, and rightly NHS staff are prioritising those most at risk of the virus, with the programme expanding over the coming months, so when the time comes for you to get your jab, the NHS will let you know and I strongly encourage you to accept the invite.”
Health chiefs have set out how they will deliver the mammoth task ahead, using hospital hubs, vaccination centres and other community locations as well as GP practices and pharmacies.
The life-saving vaccine is typically delivered by a simple injection in the shoulder but there is a complex logistical challenge to deliver from the manufacturers to patients. It needs to be stored at -70C before being thawed out and can only be moved four times within that cold chain ahead of use.
Yesterday, the Medicines and Healthcare products Regulatory Agency (MHRA) has issued further guidance on the safety of the vaccine. This updated information clarifies that people with a history of significant allergic reactions, should not take the vaccine.