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Mass Covid vaccination centres to be set up



The NHS is preparing to open dozens of Covid mass vaccination centres around England in an effort to vaccinate one million people a week against Covid-19.

The vaccination programme is expected to start in December. Over 40 new centres will make use of town halls, stadiums, and community buildings, according to the Health Service Journal. They will be additional to the Covid vaccination centres run by GP surgeries.

The NHS will deploy staff to the vaccination centres and have confirmed they will provide extra clinical staff at cost to GP practices. General Practice nurses will be administering vaccines in care homes, and the Government has stated that the residents and staff of these care homes will be the first to receive the Covid vaccine. The next in line for vaccinations will be healthcare workers and the over 80’s.

Nurses have reacted angrily on Twitter about the way the vaccination programme is being rolled out. Anya, a nurse from Merseyside, wrote: ‘Where will the NHS find the staff to administer the Covid vaccine? There is a 30k+ shortage as it is.’

Practice nurses recently raised concerns with Nursing in Practice that they had not been consulted as part of the plans to roll out the vaccine, as they will be doing a lot of the work to adminster it and are already under pressure with the expanded flu jab programme this year.

Earlier this month Dr Nikki Kanani Medical Director for Primary Care NHS England and NHS Improvement, wrote to general practice teams outlining the Governemnent’s emergency preparedness plan for the roll out of the vaccination programme.

Local Medical Committees’ (LMC) have warned of the ‘impossible’ requirements of the proposed Covid vaccination Direct Enhanced Service (DES), saying the deal could put GP practices ‘contractually at risk’. The DES is an opt-in, nationally negotiated service over and above those provided under usual contracts.

This news comes in light of the successful vaccine trials announced over the past few days. The four vaccines which have been successfully trialled are one of two types vaccines, an RNA vaccine or a virus sector vaccine.

A working vaccine jointly developed by US firm Pfizer and German company BioNTech, was the first to be announced on 9 November. It is an RNA vaccine that needs to be stored below -70C and prevents over 90% of people inoculated from catching the virus. The UK is expected to get 10 million doses by the end of 2020, with another 30 million ordered.

The Moderna vaccine, from a US company, is also an RNA vaccine and has been shown to work on 94.5% of participants. It is easier to store as it stays stable at -20C. The UK has ordered 5 million doses which will be available by early next year.  

The Oxford University and Astra Zeneca vaccine is a virus sector vaccine and has been shown to be highly effective in older people. The UK has ordered 100 million doses. One of the benefits of this vaccine is that it can be stored in a regular fridge.  

The Russian Sputnik V vaccine is a similar type to the Oxford vaccine and the Government has secured 5 million doses which will be delivered to the UK by spring next year.