More than 40 mass vaccination centres to be set up across England
More than 40 mass vaccination centres will be set up across England as part of the coronavirus vaccination effort, it has been reported.
The Health Service Journal (HSJ) said that NHS England has told local leaders that each of the 42 health and care systems in England should have at least one mass vaccination site.
Senior sources told HSJ that a larger system could have two.
These are likely to be in conference centres or similar large venues, HSJ added.
Derby City Council said talks were under way with the Government to use Derby Arena as a temporary facility to help administer the vaccine, developed by Pfizer.
The vaccine, said to be 95% effective, is currently awaiting national approval from the UK medicines regulator following successful clinical trial testing involving 43,500 people.
It was hailed at the daily Government press conference at Downing Street on Monday as a “very important scientific breakthrough” by deputy chief medical officer Jonathan Van-Tam.
Professor Stephen Powis, national medical director in England, said on Wednesday the NHS was “working incredibly hard” to ensure it is ready to deliver coronavirus vaccines as soon as they get approval.
Prof Powis told a Downing Street data briefing that the health service is working to get ready to deploy different vaccines as soon as trials are finished and regulators have given approval.
He said this would be through traditional vaccine routes such as GPs and pharmacies and also dedicated vaccination centres.
Chris Poulter, leader of Derby council, said he was “delighted” the arena was “being considered as a mass Covid-19 vaccination site”.
He added: “The potential roll out of a Covid vaccine is a welcome step in the nationwide effort.
“It’s an honour for Derby to have the opportunity to play such a critical part in any vaccination programme.
“The arena is a perfect venue. It has plenty of space, parking and good transport networks to serve Derby, Derbyshire and beyond.
“We’re still in discussions about practicalities but are very keen to be able to facilitate this.”
The UK is currently set to get 10 million doses of the Pfizer vaccine by the end of the year, with another 30 million in the pipeline after that.
Derby’s infection case rate was running at 337 cases per 100,000 people in the week to Monday, according to the latest data from NHS Digital.
Before the second lockdown all of Derbyshire had been placed under Tier 2 restrictions which banned household mixing as infections rose.
Dr Robyn Dewis, Derby’s public health director, welcomed news of talks to set up a vaccination centre in the city, but warned against complacency.
She said: “Vaccines are one of the most effective way to prevent infections like coronavirus.
“But we need to remember that it can’t be rolled out immediately, it will take time, and in the meantime the importance of basic hygiene and safety measures remains imperative.”
Dr Steve Lloyd, Derbyshire clinical commissioning group’s (CCG) medical director who leads on vaccine planning, said discussions were going on with councils across the county.
He said: “Work includes the preparation of sites so that all residents who are considered as requiring a vaccination can access one.
“Making preparations for the residents of care homes, the housebound and also NHS and social care staff to be vaccinated is vitally important.”
He added vaccine rollout planners were “working very closely” with GPs to make sure jabs will get to those who need them.
Charnwood Borough Council also confirmed it is in talks to set up a vaccine administration centre at its offices in Loughborough, Leicestershire, which could open as early as mid-December.
A council spokesman confirmed discussions for a “potential Covid-19 vaccination centre” were continuing with the NHS.
The local authority added: “The details are yet to be finalised so this is still only a proposal at this stage.”
“The offices have capacity as many more staff are working from home and that is a trend that is likely to continue long term.
“Our understanding is the centre could open mid-December.”
HSJ also reported that work is under way on recruiting large numbers of staff for the vaccination programme, with estimates suggesting around 30,000 to 40,00 staff will be needed across England.
It added that a national campaign to begin recruiting the staff is expected to be launched as well as local recruitment drives focused on attracting retired health professionals and volunteers.