We have lift-off! Boost for mass Covid-19 vaccination drive as our hubs of hope open at last

The first of seven mass vaccination hubs for those aged 80 and over open their doors to the public today.

The centres – which are also open to health and care staff – offer an alternative to receiving the jab at GP surgeries and in hospitals.

They cover all seven NHS regions in England, including – as these pictures show – the Centre for Life in Newcastle upon Tyne. 

They cover all seven NHS regions in England, including – as these pictures show – the Centre for Life in Newcastle upon Tyne

They cover all seven NHS regions in England, including – as these pictures show – the Centre for Life in Newcastle upon Tyne

The others are the Nightingale Hospital at the Excel Centre in London, Ashton Gate in Bristol, Epsom Racecourse in Surrey, Millennium Point in Birmingham, Robertson House in Stevenage and Etihad Tennis Centre in Manchester.

The hubs will be staffed by trained volunteers from both St John Ambulance and the NHS Volunteer Responder scheme alongside NHS staff. 

At the Newcastle site, some key workers received their jab over the weekend in advance of the doors officially opening to the public today.

Key workers were able to get a jab at the hub prior to today’s full rollout at the Centre for Life in Newcastle upon Tyne

Key workers were able to get a jab at the hub prior to today’s full rollout at the Centre for Life in Newcastle upon Tyne

Alex Morton, 27, receives her jab along with other health and care staff at the Centre for Life in Newcastle upon Tyne

Alex Morton, 27, receives her jab along with other health and care staff at the Centre for Life in Newcastle upon Tyne

Stock: A batch of precious Covid-19 vaccines are kept refrigerated before use at the Centre for Life in Newcastle upon Tyne

Stock: A batch of precious Covid-19 vaccines are kept refrigerated before use at the Centre for Life in Newcastle upon Tyne

There are around 1,000 vaccination centres, of which 800 are GP-led, but this will rise to 1,200 over the course of the week.

Professor Stephen Powis, the NHS’s national medical director, said: ‘Please don’t contact the NHS to seek a vaccine, we will contact you.’ 

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