NHS prepare to roll-out different Covid-19 jabs in new vaccine centres

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The NHS is already preparing to deploy different coronavirus vaccines once they are approved by regulators, NHS's medical director has said.

Professor Stephen Powis said the programme would be rolled out through traditional vaccine routes such as GPs and pharmacies.

But he added that new vaccine centres could be specially created to speed up the delivery of new vaccines.

Prof Powis told the COBRA Data Briefing at Downing Street: "We are planning for different types of vaccine and the plans around the delivery mechanism, with this contingent upon the particular vaccine and the data that comes from the trials and the advice from regulators.

"We will be saying more about this in the next few days but meanwhile we are working hard, we are ensuring we have a workforce to do this, I have talked about general practice who are stepping up for this, but St John's are also recruiting volunteers, so we have additional vaccine workforce."

Professor Powis speaking from home during the COBR Data Briefing
(Image: BBC)

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NHS National Medical Director Professor Stephen Powis said he was self-isolating after a member of his household had tested positive for coronavirus. 

He told a Downing Street briefing he was asymptomatic and feeling fine but was going to stay at home and complete his period of self-isolation.

He also revealed that the number of patients being treated in hospital was still climbing.

"We are unfortunately still seeing increased numbers of patients in our hospital beds… There is pressure on our health system," Stephen Powis said at the news conference.

The new Moderna vaccine is believed to be 95% effective in preventing the spread of coronavirus
(Image: AFP via Getty Images)

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"It's really important as we go into this winter that these numbers come down, and we get into the real heart of winter with much much lower numbers of COVID patients in hospitals."

Drugs makers Moderna and Pfizer both released preliminary results in recent days which said the effectiveness of their vaccines were likely to be above 90%.

The UK has already confirmed that it has secured millions of doses of both vaccines which could be rolled out in early 2021.

During the briefing, scientists today confirmed they have drawn up plans the government could use to relax lockdown over Christmas.

Experts told a Downing Street briefing they sent information to the government over the weekend for what could happen over the festive break.

Coronavirus hospitalisations are climbing
(Image: COBR)

The R rate is also still above 1, scientists have revealed
(Image: COBR)

Asked if "some sort of Christmas" was possible, Dr Susan Hopkins, medical adviser on the Covid-19 response, said: "I think it is”.

But she added: "The other thing I would say is some of the SAGE advice previously suggested that for every day that we release, we’ll need two days of tighter restrictions.

"So coming into Christmas, we’ll need to be very careful about the number of contacts we have to reduce transmission before Christmas and get our cases as low as possible.

"Hopefully the government will make the decision that will allow us to have some mixing but we will wait and see what that is.

"And then I think once we’ve got past the Christmas period, if there’s been a release and some socialisation, we’ll all have to be very responsible and reduce those contacts again."

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