I am writing to you to update on the publication of our UK COVID-19 Vaccines Delivery Plan and to provide you with the latest list of vaccination sites in England.
We have reached a major milestone this week, with more than 2.3 million people in the UK vaccinated. The vaccination programme – the biggest in NHS history – is off to a strong start, having vaccinated more people than anywhere else in Europe. The rapid rollout of the Oxford/AstraZeneca vaccine, less than a week after it was authorised by the MHRA, is another world first and another major milestone in the phased vaccination programme.
The UK COVID-19 Vaccine Delivery Plan, which sets out how the vaccine programme is to be expanded, was published this afternoon. This plan is the culmination of months of preparation and hard work by the Vaccine Taskforce, the NHS, Public Health England, our research institutions and Armed Forces, and local and regional government at every level.
We are also now publishing weekly data showing the number of COVID-19 vaccinations provided across the UK (https://coronavirus.data.gov.uk/) and daily data for England (https://www.england.nhs.uk/statistics/statistical-work-areas/covid-19-v…).
The full list of sites that are now live in England can be found here: https://www.england.nhs.uk/coronavirus/publication/vaccination-sites/. The NHS in Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland publish data for the devolved nations too.
The roll out of the Oxford/AstraZeneca vaccine to GP-led services has also begun, to ensure that our care homes and other vulnerable individuals are protected against COVID-19. Seven Vaccination Centres are among many more sites coming online this week, along with more hospitals, GP led services and a number of pilot pharmacy vaccine services.
The seven centres are as follows;
• Ashton Gate in Bristol (South West)
• Epsom racecourse in Surrey (South East)
• Excel Centre in London (London)
• The Centre for Life (North East and Yorkshire)
• Etihad Tennis Club in Manchester (North West)
• Robertson House in Stevenage (East of England)
• Millennium Point in Birmingham (Midlands)
Pharmacies are already working with GPs to deliver vaccines in many areas of the country. As more supply becomes available, community pharmacists able to administer large numbers of vaccine will play a role in the phased vaccination programme, especially reaching the harder to reach areas.
We have also made the commitment to offer a vaccination to everyone in the top 4 priority groups (identified by the Joint Committee on Vaccination and Immunisation) by 15 February 2021. This includes older care home residents and staff; everyone over 70; and frontline NHS and care staff as well as those who are clinically extremely vulnerable to COVID-19.
This mass COVID-19 vaccination programme is a huge undertaking and I am delighted to inform you that former members of NHS staff have applied to become vaccinators and tens of thousands of people have already completed their online training. They are being processed as quickly as possible and vaccinators will be deployed as and when they are required. We are working with the Royal Voluntary Service and St John Ambulance to recruit and train thousands more volunteer vaccinators, who will have all the relevant clinical training – as well as supervision - to ensure they can vaccinate in a way that is safe for patients and for themselves.
We have made considerable progress in the last few weeks, but there is still a long way to go. Meanwhile, it is important that we, and our constituents, all keep following the rules to ensure we protect ourselves as well as each other. I will provide further updates on our deployment of the vaccines as soon as possible in the coming weeks.