First Boots store to start Covid vaccines this week – with more to come
THE first Boots store is to start giving coronavirus vaccines from this week – with more pharmacies to deliver jabs soon.
It comes as the Government ramps up the Covid jab roll out with seven mass vaccination sites opening across England today.
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The pharmaceutical firm said it will begin delivering the Oxford/AstraZeneca jab from its purpose built facility in Halifax.
Two additional sites in Huddersfield and Gloucester are planned to open in the coming weeks.
Talks are underway on the potential to expand this to more mass vaccination sites in the coming months to help support the NHS's roll out.
Seb James, Boots managing director, said: "Our vaccination sites are clean, clinical environments, inaccessible, convenient locations, like high streets, and we have extensive experience in vaccination services, having carried out over a million flu vaccinations in this winter flu season alone.
"We hope to help the NHS and enable more people to get the vaccination quickly."
Patients will be provided the option to book their vaccination appointment at Boots through the NHS booking system, once it is open.
Thousands more people are expected to be given a Covid-19 jab after the new mass vaccination hubs – including at a football stadium and a tennis club – opened today.
Hundreds more GP-led and hospital services along with the first pharmacy-led pilot sites will also start administering jabs later this week – taking the total to around 1,200, NHS England said.
Professor Stephen Powis, NHS England national medical director, said the ramping up of vaccination sites would help "protect even more people".
The mass vaccine sites will each be capable of delivering thousands of jabs each week and could increase their operations according to supplies and demand, NHS England said.
The Government is aiming to vaccinate almost 14 million vulnerable people – including the over-80s, care home residents and health and care staff – by the middle of February.
Health Secretary Matt Hancock has said they are on course to meet the target, with over 200,000 people being vaccinated every day in England and a third of over-80s already jabbed.
Around two million in the UK now have now received their first dose of the vaccine.
The seven new England vaccine centres opening on Monday are: Ashton Gate in Bristol, Epsom racecourse in Surrey, the Excel Centre where London's Nightingale hospital is based, Newcastle's Centre for Life, the Manchester Tennis and Football Centre, Robertson House in Stevenage and Birmingham's Millennium Point.
Mr Hancock will visit one of the centres before setting out the Government's vaccines delivery plan at a Downing Street press conference on Monday afternoon.
He has described the plan as "the keystone of our exit out of the pandemic", while Nadhim Zahawi, the minister in charge of vaccine deployment, said it will "set out our ambitions for the coming weeks and months as we continue to expand our programme at breakneck speed, with strategies to underpin every commitment".
The locations for the centres were chosen to give a geographical spread covering as many people as possible, NHS England said.
Some 600,000 invites were due to be sent over the weekend and this coming week to people aged 80 and above who live up to a 45-minute drive from one of the new centres.
The sites will also vaccinate health and care staff.
Professor Powis 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.
"Please don't contact the NHS to seek a vaccine, we will contact you. When we do contact you, please attend your booked appointments."
He reminded everyone, whether they have had a vaccine or not, they need to keep following 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".
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