Seven new NHS Vaccination Centres have been opened to offer a convenient alternative to GP-led and hospital services and will begin vaccinating people aged 80 and over, along with health and care staff.

The seven large-scale sites, capable of delivering thousands of the vaccinations each week, will be followed by dozens more as well as  hundreds more GP-led, hospital services and pharmacy-led pilot sites, taking the total to around 1,200.

Letters are being sent out to more than 600,000 people aged 80 who live up to a 45 minute drive from one of the new centres, inviting them to book an appointment.

The centres are an additional option for people, who can book an appointment at one of the seven centres through the national booking service online or over the phone. If it is not convenient for them, they can instead be vaccinated at one of their local vaccination centres in the coming weeks.

People should wait until they are invited and should not call their GP but use the booking line. If an appointment has already been offered by the GP, people can choose which appointment suits them best.

Centres will vaccinate health and social workers

As well as offering additional options for the over-80s, the NHS Vaccine Centres will also help in the NHS’s drive to protect its own frontline staff as well as social care workers providing vital support in communities.

The new services will also be the first to deploy trained volunteers from both St John Ambulance and the NHS Volunteer Responder scheme alongside NHS staff, more than 80,000 of who have completed the clinical training needed to administer vaccines so far.

The seven Vaccination Centres opening this week are:

  • Excel Centre in London (London)
  • Ashton Gate in Bristol (South West)
  • Epsom racecourse in Surrey (South East)
  • Millennium Point in Birmingham (Midlands)
  • Robertson House in Stevenage (East of England)
  • Etihad Tennis Club in Manchester (North West)
  • The Centre for Life in Newcastle upon Tyne (North East and Yorkshire)

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.

Health and Social Care Secretary Matt Hancock said: “Through our vaccine delivery plan around two million people have already received their first dose of the Covid-19 vaccines and these new large scale vaccination centres will help us accelerate the rollout even further.

“Alongside GPs, pharmacies, hospitals and care homes the new sites will offer vaccines to everyone in the top four priority cohorts, saving thousands of lives and helping us start to return to normal in the future.”