The International Life Sciences Centre in Newcastle opened its doors today as the first large vaccination centre for the North East and North Cumbria
People aged 80 and over are being invited to book a coronavirus vaccination at one of seven new NHS vaccination centres that open this week (Monday 11 January) with Newcastle’s International Life Sciences Centre being the first such centre for the North East and North Cumbria.
Invitation letters are being delivered to people aged 80 or over, who live 30 to 45 minutes drive, from the new centre and explain how they can book a slot – over the phone or online through the national booking service. The Centre offers a convenient alternative to GP and hospital services and can each deliver thousands of vaccinations every week.
Nurses, doctors, pharmacists and other NHS staff working nearby are also being vaccinated along with social care and care home workers.
First to deliver Oxford AstraZeneca vaccine
The NHS is the first health system to deliver the new Oxford AstraZeneca coronavirus vaccine which is being rolled out to GP-led services and is much easier to transport and get to care home residents.
“The vaccination centres are an important part of the next phase of rolling out the vaccination programme more widely,” said Professor Neil Watson of the Newcastle upon Tyne Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust, who is running the Covid Vaccination Programme in the North East and North Cumbria.
“We are working closely with primary care who are doing an amazing job vaccinating their most vulnerable patients and making sure care home residents and staff get their vaccinations too. And now we have Oxford AstraZeneca, GPs are able to take vaccines to our housebound patients too.
Our focus is on the top priority cohorts and we are all inspired by the potential of saving thousands of lives and knowing this gives many of us hope for the future.Professor Neil Watson who leads the Covid Vaccination Programme in the North East and North Cumbria
One vaccination centre will open in each of the seven NHS regions this week with many more expected to be up and running by the end of the month – with more to be confirmed in the North East and North Cumbria soon.
The first seven sites are:
- Ashton Gate in Bristol (South West)
- Epsom racecourse in Surrey (South East)
- Excel Centre in London (London)
- The Centre for Life (North East and Yorkshire)
- Eithiad Tennis Club in Manchester (North West)
- Robertson House in Stevenage (East of England)
- Millennium Point in Birmingham (Midlands)
The initial sites were chosen from those ready to vaccinate large numbers of people quickly to give a geographical spread covering as many people as possible.
The new vaccine centres will each be capable of delivering thousands of jabs each week but scaling up and down according to vaccine supplies and demand.
The invitations to attend are being issued to people aged 80 or over who are not listed as having been vaccinated at a hospital or GP service.
Professor Watson continued: “I’m extremely proud of our teams of NHS staff across the North East and North Cumbria who are pulling out all the stops to deliver Covid jabs as swiftly as they can.
“Teams in primary care, GP practices, in our local hospitals, across community health services, supported by our colleagues in local authorities, public health and adult social care. By working together we delivering the biggest vaccination programme there has ever been which will save more lives than any other
“It’s a joy to listen to the response from patients when they receive their vaccine, the hope it is bringing to them and their families, for many coming to get their vaccine is the first time they have been out for months.”
Those such as care home residents, who are unable to travel to vaccine centres, hospitals or GP-led sites are already being jabbed at home.
Staggered bookings to allow social distancing
People who book in to a vaccine centre will be greeted by volunteers who will marshal carparks and register them when they arrive. Bookings are staggered to allow social distancing.
They will receive a health status check and a pre-vaccination assessment before they have their jab and then be observed for 15 minutes. The process should take well under an hour.
As with other vaccination services people should wait to be invited by the NHS.
The NHS Covid-19 Vaccination Booking Service can only be used by those who have received an invitation letter. It will also not be possible to get a vaccine at a Vaccination Centre or Community Pharmacy without an appointment. Doing so risks disrupting the work of NHS staff in protecting those at highest risk.