Hospitals in Birmingham and Nottinghamshire have begun trials of 24-hour Covid-19 vaccinations for health and social care staff, Vaccine Minister Nadhim Zahawi has said.
The hospitals are the first in the country to start offering a round-the-clock delivery, with standard opening times at vaccination centres currently between 8am and 8pm.
The 24-hour sites aim to provide more appointments to boost the number of people given the jab, while giving people the flexibility to attend in the morning or late in the evening.
Appointments for night staff
Three Birmingham hospitals started piloting a round-the-clock service on Wednesday (20 January) to allow health and social care staff who work in the evening to get their vaccination.
The pilot will give staff the opportunity to attend appointments at a time that suits them, with slots available between 6pm and 8am.
The trial service is being rolled out at Queen Elizabeth Hospital Birmingham, Heartlands and Good Hope hospitals.
Sherwood Forest Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust in Nottinghamshire is also hosting a 24-hour vaccine pilot.
A University Hospitals Birmingham NHS Foundation Trust spokeswoman said: “We are looking at further options to provide all health and social care staff across Birmingham and Solihull the opportunity to be vaccinated at a time that suits them.
“From tonight (20 January), we will be opening up a number of vaccination appointment slots specifically for our night staff, between 6pm and 8am.
“These will be rolled out site-by-site at QEHB (Queen Elizabeth Hospital Birmingham), Heartlands and Good Hope hospitals into the weekend.”
Previously, Vaccine Minister Nadhim Zahaw said that pilots of round-the-clock delivery would start “probably either (in) London or the Midlands”, but as yet 24-hour centres have not started at hospitals in the Capital.
10 new vaccination centres
The 24-hour pilot comes following the opening of 10 new vaccination centres across England this week, which are capable of immunising thousands of people per week.
The new sites opened on 18 January and mean there are now 17 large-scale vaccination centres around the country offering people an alternative to GP-led and hospital services.
NHS staff are now delivering jabs from a rugby ground, a race course, a food court and a cathedral, as more than four million people have received their first dose of either the Pfizer or Oxford vaccine so far in the UK.
Letters have now been sent out to people aged 70 and over, and the clinically extremely vulnerable, in England, inviting them to get their jab as the NHS begins the rollout to the next two priority groups.
So far, the NHS has been working to vaccinate care home residents and staff, people aged 80 and over, and frontline health and care staff as a top priority.
Nobody needs to contact the NHS for an appointment, as people will be invited to attend and cannot get vaccinated simply by turning up.
The 10 new vaccination centres are based at the following locations:
- Bournemouth International Centre
- Taunton Racecourse
- Blackburn Cathedral
- Salt Hill Activity Centre, Slough
- Norwich Foodcourt, Castle Quarter
- The Lodge, Wickford, Essex
- Princess Royal Sports Arena, Lincolnshire
- St Helens Rugby Ground
- Park and Ride at Askham Bar, York
- Olympic Office Centre, Wembley, London