Hundreds of Covid-19 vaccination centres run by local doctors will begin opening across England this week, the NHS has said.
GP practices in more than 100 locations will have the vaccine delivered to them on Monday, with some opening their clinics later in the afternoon.
The majority will begin providing vaccination services to their local community from Tuesday, NHS England and NHS Improvement said.
NHS staff including nurses and pharmacists will work alongside GPs to inoculate those aged 80 and over, as well as care home workers and residents.
The vaccination centres will operate from existing doctors’ surgeries or community hubs in villages, towns and cities across the country, with patients invited to receive the jab.
Care home residents in England will receive their first Covid-19 vaccine later this week after the distribution process was finalised to ensure safe delivery of the Pfizer and BioNTech jab, the NHS said.
Dr Nikki Kanani, practising GP and NHS director of primary care, urged people to attend when they are called up for the vaccine.
She said: “This is the greatest vaccination programme ever undertaken by the NHS, and to help vaccinate people safely we will be working with local communities to deliver it in convenient and familiar settings.
“As a GP, I am proud to be part of this huge national effort to protect our patients against the virus and I would urge the public to come forward when they are called up for the vaccine.”
The opening of the community centres comes after dozens of hospital hubs began offering vaccinations from last Tuesday.
The latest phase of the vaccine rollout is being co-ordinated by GP-led primary care networks, with more practices and pharmacies due to join on a phased basis over the coming months.
Professor Martin Marshall, chairman of the Royal College of GPs, said: “GPs and our teams are about to embark on an enormous challenge, delivering the Covid-19 vaccination programme in the community whilst also delivering the expanded flu vaccine programme and the usual care and services our patients rely on us for.
“There are also logistical challenges but general practice has an excellent track record of delivering mass vaccination programmes, and we want to use this experience to help protect people from Covid-19 and start getting life back to normal again.
“Patients will be contacted and invited for vaccination – we would urge them not to contact their practice enquiring about vaccination, we will contact them.”
Dr Richard Vautrey, chairman of the BMA’s general practitioners committee, said: “This will be a major undertaking and now hundreds of GP practices working together in locally based practice groups will ensure that this vital vaccination campaign is carried out as swiftly as possible, providing protection to some of our most vulnerable patients, with safety and wellbeing at the heart of their work.”