Confirmed: Northampton General Hospital to be one of the country's first coronavirus vaccination hubs

'We are working at some pace to be ready to start vaccinating people as soon as possible'
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Northampton General Hospital has been confirmed as one of the country's first coronavirus vaccination hubs as part of the biggest immunisation programme in history.

People aged 80 and over as well as care home workers will be first to receive the jab along with NHS workers who are at higher risk.

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Hospital chief executive Simon Weldon said: “The Covid vaccine is really good news for us all as it is the most effective way to protect ourselves from the virus and, hopefully, start our return to normal life again.

Northampton General HospitalNorthampton General Hospital
Northampton General Hospital

“Rolling it out across Northamptonshire is a huge logistical operation and we are working at some pace to be ready to start vaccinating people as soon as possible.

“I am extremely proud of the team, which includes staff from across the health system in Northamptonshire working alongside our pharmacists to create the Northampton General Hospital hub.

"They are creating the systems needed so we can play our part in the biggest ever vaccination programme.”

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Northampton General Hospital is one of 50 hubs in the first wave and more hospitals will start vaccinating over the coming weeks and months as the programme ramps up.

The first vaccines are expected to be given in the NHS tomorrow (Tuesday, December 8) but no date has yet been confirmed for Northampton.

Patients aged 80 and above who are already attending hospital as an outpatient, and those who are being discharged home after a hospital stay, will be among the first to receive the vaccine.

Hospitals will also work with care home providers to book their staff for vaccination clinics.

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Any appointments not used for these groups will be used for healthcare workers who are at the highest risk of serious illness from Covid-19 - all those vaccinated will need a booster jab 21 days later.

GPs and other primary care staff are also being put on standby to start delivering the jab.

A small number of GP-led primary care networks will begin doing so next week with more practices in more parts of the country joining in on a phased basis during December and in the coming months.

Vaccination centres treating large numbers of patients in sporting venues and conference centres will subsequently stand up when further supplies of vaccine come on stream.

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NHS national medical director Professor Stephen Powis said: “Despite the huge complexities, hospitals will kickstart the first phase of the largest scale vaccination campaign in our country’s history from Tuesday.

"The first tranche of vaccine deliveries will be landing at hospitals by Monday in readiness.

“The NHS has a strong record of delivering large scale vaccination programmes – from the flu jab, HPV vaccine and lifesaving MMR jabs – hardworking staff will once again rise to the challenge to protect the most vulnerable people from this awful disease.”

The life-saving vaccine is typically delivered by a simple injection in the shoulder but there is a complex and difficult logistical challenge to deliver from the manufacturers Pfizer to patients.

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It needs to be stored at -70C before being thawed out and can only be moved four times within that cold chain before being used.

NHS staff have been working over the weekend to prepare the sites and accept deliveries.

Health Secretary Matt Hancock said: “This coming week will be a historic moment as we begin vaccination against Covid-19.

“We are prioritising the most vulnerable first and over-80s, care home staff and NHS colleagues will all be among the first to receive the vaccines.

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“We are doing everything we can to make sure we can overcome significant challenges to vaccinate care home residents as soon as possible too.

“I urge everybody to play their part to suppress this virus and follow the local restrictions to protect the NHS while they carry out this crucial work.”