The NHS and military yesterday held a trial run at one of the first mass vaccination sites where tens of thousands of patients will be immunised.
The drill, code-named Exercise Panacea, took place at Ashton Gate football and rugby stadium in Bristol.
Approximately seven regional hubs will be used to vaccinate the wider population as GP surgeries target atrisk patients and hospitals are used to immunise NHS and care home staff, as well as some patients.
Military exercise: Personnel at the site yesterday
In yesterday’s exercise some 20 to 30 staff and volunteers were looped through the building pretending to be different types of patients, from one suffering an adverse reaction to one with symptoms or one who won’t get the jab, such as a pregnant woman.
It is planned that vaccinations will be given at the stadium 12 hours a day, seven days a week.
Other venues being prepared to be used as regional hubs include the Nightingale Hospital at London’s ExCeL Centre, Leicester Racecourse and Manchester Tennis and Football Centre.
On hand: A paramedic in the car park of the stadium
Vaccine site: Bristol’s Ashton Gate stadium will be a regional hub
The NHS is expecting to immunise between 75,000 and 110,000 people a week at the stadium and other local facilities in Bristol and neighbouring North Somerset and South Gloucestershire between now and April.
The drill yesterday follows an earlier ‘live play field exercise’ code-named Exercise Asclepius that took place at Epsom Downs Racecourse in October to ‘gauge the capabilities’ of mass vaccination centres.