Now that more doses of Covid-19 are available, the NHS is able to open more vaccination services, including the first Vaccination Centres
People who are eligible and who live near these new vaccination services will receive letters from the NHS Covid-19 Vaccination Booking Service, telling them how they can book their appointment.
The NHS is rolling out additional services quickly, but it remains important that the public don’t try to book or go to these services before they receive their booking letter.
And when you do book an appointment, please make sure you attend.
On Monday 11 January, the first seven vaccination centres will become operational as the next step in rolling out the COVID-19 vaccinations. Initially, there will be one centre in each region, with more centres opening over the course of the month.
The first centres are:
- 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)
Initially, people aged 80 and over who live within 30 to 45 minutes of a Vaccination Centre, and haven’t already been vaccinated by their local GP led vaccination services or hospital hub, will be the first people to receive letters to book their appointments. Vaccination Centres will also work directly with local health and care employers to directly book staff into appointments.
To ensure that those who are greatest risk get their vaccination first, we are asking the public to help us and wait for the NHS to contact them when it is their turn, and to not come to vaccination centres (or any other service) without an appointment.
It is expected that the centres will be able to vaccinate tens of thousands of people per week once operating at full capacity. Over the course of the first few days, centres will gradually build up and test their systems to being able to operate up to 12 hours a day. The testing period is essential to ensure that centres have the right social distancing and COVID secure measures in place to protect our patients and staff.
Each vaccination centre will be staffed by clinicians, non-registered vaccinators, administrative staff and a range of volunteers who will help make a visit run as smoothly and safely as possible. The exact number of staff and volunteers will depend on how many ‘pods’ the centre has.
There will be three volunteer roles staffed by St John at vaccination centres: fully trained vaccinators, post vaccination observers and patient advocates. As well as these volunteers, the NHS Volunteer Responders programme, coordinated by the Royal Voluntary Service, will also be providing volunteers to be stewards, who will play a crucial role in helping people through the centre, improving the patient journey.
To ensure that critical patient care is not compromised, there is also a national contract in place with NHS Professionals who have been recruiting and training tens of thousands of vaccinators – including many former and private clinicians – who are available to local systems to complement local recruitment and bolster the local vaccination workforce.
The NHS Covid-19 Vaccination Booking Service
The national NHS Covid-19 Vaccination Booking Service will go live in advance of booking letters starting to arrive from Saturday 9 January. The NHS service will send out letters for eligible people to book their vaccine appointment.
They can do this in two ways:
- Booking online at nhs.uk/covid-vaccination
- Phoning 119.
How it will work
The NHS will write to eligible people (based on the JCVI cohorts) offering them to book through this service.
People will be able to book their appointment in a vaccination centre or community pharmacy. An initial set of these sites will go live from Monday 11 January and will rapidly ramp up in the following weeks.
Letters will initially go to people aged 80 and over who live in reasonable travelling distance of the active locations, and who haven’t already been vaccinated through other NHS vaccination services.
As more locations go live, the number of letters going out to people will significantly increase, expanding to other priority groups.
The letter that people will receive also explains that people may have also been contacted by their GP services and if they have, make it clear that they can choose to book through their GP services or through the national booking service.
Ensuring patients can access the service when they need to
In line with the process already in place for other vaccination services, the NHS will contact people when it is their turn to book their vaccine.
It will not be possible to use the NHS Covid-19 Vaccination Booking Service if you haven’t received an invitation letter. Doing so risks someone who has not being able to get through and book their appointment.
It will also not be possible to get a vaccine at a Vaccination Centre or Community Pharmacy without an appointment. Doing so risks disrupting the work of NHS staff in protecting those at highest risk.