NHS Nightingale London's jabs hub opens as Covid-19 vaccinations ramp up
- Credit: PA
The NHS Nightingale London vaccination hub has opened with the elderly and health-workers the first to receive Covid-19 inoculations.
People queued outside the site in Western Gateway, Royal Docks, early on Monday morning (January 11) as nurses prepared to vaccinate hundreds at socially distanced tables or cubicles.
Dr Raliat Onatade, group chief pharmacist at Barts Health NHS Trust, said: "Barts are proud to be running the NHS Covid-19 vaccination centre, based at the ExCeL London.
"The centre, which serves the whole of London will play a big part in controlling the virus and helping us get back to doing the things we love.
"The NHS will invite people to have a vaccine via a letter, which will provide information on how to book an appointment at the centre through a national booking system."
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Professor Stephen Powis, the NHS’s national medical director, said increasing supplies means the NHS can open even more vaccination services and protect even more people this week.
“While my NHS colleagues are working hard to ensure we can offer vaccines to all of those who would benefit most over the next month, at the same time as providing care for everyone who needs it, we need the public to help us.
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“Please don’t contact the NHS to seek a vaccine, we will contact you. When we do contact you, please attend your booked appointments. And whether you have had a vaccine or not, please continue to follow all the guidance to control the virus and save lives – that means staying at home as much as you can, and following the ‘hands, face, space’ guidance when you can’t," Professor Powis added.
NHS Nightingale is one of seven locations to open across the country as the government ramps up inoculations.
Ashton Gate in Bristol, Newcastle's Centre for Life, the Manchester Tennis and Football Centre, Robertson House in Stevenage and Birmingham's Millennium Point will also offer jabs to people aged 80 and above, along with health and care staff.
The new centres will be joined later this week by hundreds more GP-led and hospital services across the country along with the first pharmacy-led pilot sites, taking the total to around 1,200, according to NHS England.
Letters are being sent out to more than 600,000 people aged 80 who live up to a 45 minute drive from one of the new centres, inviting them to book an appointment.
The NHS vaccination programme, the biggest in the health service’s history, is being delivered as health service staff are treating record numbers of seriously ill patients with covid, caused by rapidly rising infection numbers.
Health and social care secretary, Matt Hancock, said: “Through our vaccine delivery plan around two million people have already received their first dose of the Covid-19 vaccines and these new large scale vaccination centres will help us accelerate the rollout even further."