Patients will be vaccinated against coronavirus at Mayday Hospital as early as this Tuesday, at the start of the biggest immunisation programme in history.
The hospital, part of the Croydon Health Services NHS Trust, is one of 50 around the country which will take part in the process of immunizing the population against the virus, which has claimed the lives of more than 61,000 people in Britain this year.
A spokesperson for the Croydon NHS Trust said, “We are working hard to make sure we can protect those at the highest risk from covid-19 in the shortest time possible.
“Croydon University Hospital has been selected as one of only 50 ‘hospital hubs’ that will provide the new covid-19 vaccine to the local community first, before the vaccine is rolled out across the country in the coming weeks and months.
“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 of covid-19.
“We are working closely with our partners in south-west London and across the NHS to begin the vaccination programme as part of our continued response to the pandemic.”
NHS staff are working through the weekend to prepare for the launch.
Mayday and the other hospital hubs are seen as the “first wave” of vaccination centres, and more hospitals will start vaccinating over the coming weeks and months as the programme ramps up.
Patients aged 80 and over 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 potentially life-saving jab.
Hospitals will also begin inviting over-80s in for a jab and work with care home providers to book their staff in to vaccination clinics.
Any appointments not used for these groups will be used for healthcare workers who are at highest risk of serious illness from covid. 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 during the following week (week beginning December 14) with more practices 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.
Matthew Kershaw, the chief executive of the Croydon NHS Trust, called the arrival of the vaccine “a pivotal moment for the country and for us in Croydon”.
Professor Stephen Powis, NHS national medical director, 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.
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.
Read more: Lockdown ends with positive covid cases still on the rise
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