The rollout of the Covid-19 vaccine will be ‘the largest scale immunisation programme in UK history’, according to a top health boss.
The NHS is working through the weekend to prepare for the first coronavirus vaccines arriving at hospitals on Monday.
Health secretary Matt Hancock said the coming week would be a ‘historic moment’, as the first jabs are set to be administrated on Tuesday.
People aged 80 and over, care home workers and NHS workers who are at higher risk will be the first group to get the jab.
There is still no guaranteed date for when care home residents will be vaccinated, despite them being at the top of the priority list, with Health Secretary Matt Hancock saying there are still ‘significant challenges’ to overcome.
The vaccine rollout has been named ‘one of the greatest challenges the NHS has ever faced’.
NHS medical director Professor Stephen Powis said: ‘Despite the huge complexities, hospitals will kickstart the first phase of the largest scale vaccination campaign in our country’s history from Tuesday.
‘The first tranche of vaccine deliveries will be landing at hospitals by Monday in readiness.
‘The NHS has a strong record of delivering large scale vaccination programmes – from the flu jab, HPV vaccine and lifesaving MMR jabs – hardworking staff will once again rise to the challenge to protect the most vulnerable people from this awful disease.’
Mr Hancock said: ‘This coming week will be an historic moment as we begin vaccination against Covid-19.
‘We are prioritising the most vulnerable first, and over-80s, care home staff and NHS colleagues will all be among the first to receive the vaccines.
‘We are doing everything we can to make sure we can overcome significant challenges to vaccinate care home residents as soon as possible too.
‘I urge everybody to play their part to suppress this virus and follow the local restrictions to protect the NHS while they carry out this crucial work.’
The first 50 hospital hubs to get the coronavirus vaccine
Mid and South Essex NHS Foundation Trust
Milton Keynes University Hospital NHS Foundation Trust
East Suffolk And North Essex NHS Foundation Trust
North West Anglia NHS Foundation Trust
James Paget University Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust
Norfolk And Norwich University Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust
Cambridge University Hospital NHS Foundation Trust
East and North Hertfordshire NHS Trust
Royal Free London NHS Foundation Trust
Guy’s and St Thomas’ NHS Foundation Trust
Croydon Health Services NHS Trust
St George’s University Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust
King’s College Hospital NHS Foundation Trust – Denmark Hill
King’s College Hospital NHS Foundation Trust – Princess Royal University Hospital
Walsall Healthcare NHS Trust
Chesterfield Royal Hospital NHS Foundation Trust
Sherwood Forest Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust
University Hospitals Coventry And Warwickshire NHS Trust
Royal Stoke Hospital
Northampton General Hospital NHS Trust
University Hospitals of Derby and Burton NHS Foundation Trust
United Lincolnshire Hospitals NHS Trust
Nottingham University Hospitals NHS Trust
Shrewsbury And Telford Hospital NHS Trust
Sheffield Teaching Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust
North Cumbria Integrated Care NHS Foundation Trust
Hull University Teaching Hospitals NHS Trust
The Newcastle Upon Tyne Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust
Leeds Teaching Hospitals NHS Trust
South Tees NHS Trust
Wirral University Teaching Hospital
Liverpool University Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust
Countess of Chester Hospital NHS Foundation Trust
Salford Royal NHS Foundation Trust
Stockport NHS Foundation Trust
Blackpool Teaching Hospital
Lancashire Teaching Hospital Trust
Frimley Health NHS Foundation Trust – Wexham Park Hospital
Oxford University Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust
East Kent Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust – William Harvey Hospital
Brighton And Sussex University Hospitals NHS Trust – Royal Sussex County Hospital
Portsmouth University Hospitals Trust
Royal Surrey NHS Foundation Trust
Yeovil District Hospital NHS Foundation Trust
Dorset County Hospital NHS Foundation Trust
Royal Cornwall Hospitals NHS Trust
University Hospitals Plymouth NHS Trust
Great Western Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust
Gloucestershire Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust
North Bristol NHS Trust
The Pfizer/BioNtech vaccine has to be stored at -70C before being thawed out and can only be moved four times within that cold chain before being used.
Public Health England said it has secured 58 specialised Twin Guard ultra-low temperature freezers which can store about five million doses.
There are 50 vaccination hubs in England’s first wave of the programme with more hospitals to vaccinate over the coming weeks and months.
A Downing Street spokeswoman said the Government has been ‘working day and night to battle against coronavirus, taking the right steps at the right time to deliver a strategy to protect our NHS and save lives and livelihoods’.
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