Seven mass Covid vaccination hubs to open across the UK next week

6 January 2021, 16:57

The ExCel centre is set to be one of seven mass vaccination centress opening next week
The ExCel centre is set to be one of seven mass vaccination centress opening next week. Picture: PA

By Megan White

Mass vaccination hubs at seven sites across England - including sports venues and London's ExCel convention centre - will begin operations next week, Downing Street has confirmed.

Hubs will be set up in London, Newcastle, Manchester, Birmingham, Bristol, Surrey and Stevenage, Number 10 said.

Venues including the Etihad Tennis Centre in Manchester and Epsom Racecourse in Surrey will be converted into regional centres in an attempt to meet the Government target of vaccinating 14 million people UK-wide by February.

Read more: Boris Johnson: UK in final 'sprint' to defeat coronavirus

The Prime Minister's official spokesman told a Westminster briefing that the centres will also include Robertson House in Stevenage, the Centre for Life in Newcastle, Ashton Gate Stadium in Bristol and Millennium Point in Birmingham.

The centres are expected to be staffed with a combination of NHS staff and volunteers, the spokesman added.

Boris Johnson revealed on Tuesday that 1.3 million people across the UK have received the coronavirus vaccine so far.

The PA news agency understands that other facilities under consideration include Derby Arena; the Black Country Living Museum, Dudley; Malvern's Three Counties' Showground, Worcestershire; Villa Park, home of Aston Villa FC; and Leicester Racecourse.

It comes after supermarket chain Morrisons confirmed that car parks at three stores - in Yeovil, Wakefield and Winsford - would host drive-through vaccinations from Monday, with a further 47 offered to the Government.

Premier League club Tottenham Hotspur have also offered the use of their stadium to the NHS as a venue to roll out the coronavirus vaccine.

Other venues in London have offered their services to support the rollout, such as the Royal Vauxhall Tavern and G-A-Y.

Jeremy Joseph, owner of G-A-Y, has offered up all of his venues for the vaccinations, including the club Heaven in central London, which has a capacity of 1,625.

The venue is licensed for 24 hours, so he said it could offer around-the-clock vaccinations.

James Lindsay, CEO of the Royal Vauxhall Tavern, said he wanted to play his part in the fight against the virus.

The news comes as the UK recorded 62,322 new Covid cases - the highest daily total since the pandemic began - and 1,041 more deaths.

The number of deaths is the highest since April 21, at the peak of the first wave of coronavirus.

Speaking on Tuesday, the Prime Minister said by February 15, the NHS hopes to have vaccinated everybody in the top four priority groups - older care home residents and staff, everyone over 70, all frontline NHS and care staff and all those who are clinically extremely vulnerable.

From Monday, there will be daily updates on the number of people who have been vaccinated.

Mr Johnson told a Downing Street press conference: "This afternoon, with Pfizer and Oxford/AstraZeneca combined, we have now vaccinated over 1.1 million people in England and over 1.3 million across the UK.

"And that includes more than 650,000 people over 80, which is 23 per cent of all the over 80s in England, and that means that nearly 1 in 4 of one of the most vulnerable groups will have in 2 to 3 weeks – all of them - a significant degree of immunity.

"When you consider that the average age of Covid fatalities is in the 80s, you can see the importance of what we have already achieved.

"And that is why I believe that the Joint Committee on Vaccination and Immunisation was right to draw up a programme aimed at saving the most lives the fastest."

The Prime Minister said there are already 595 GP-led sites providing vaccines, with a further 180 coming on stream later this week.

There are also 107 hospital sites carrying out vaccinations, with an additional 100 joining the programme this week.