Hospitals in Southwark are among the first to get the new coronavirus vaccine.
Guy’s and St Thomas’ NHS Trust and King’s College NHS Trust are among the hospitals getting the new Pfizer vaccine today in preparation for jabs to be given from tomorrow.
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.
Vaccines will also be given to high-priority vulnerable NHS staff.
GPs are also being put on ‘standby’ to start delivering vaccines in the community from next week.
The News has already reported how officials are on the hunt for mass Covid vaccination sites in Southwark.
Health secretary, Matt Hancock, said it was a historic moment in the fight against the virus. “This coming week will be an historic moment as we begin vaccination against COVID-19,” he said.
“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.
“We are doing everything we can to make sure we can overcome significant challenges to vaccinate care home residents as soon as possible too.”
The roll-out of the vaccine is challenging, because the vaccine needs to be stored at -70c. Once thawed, it can only be moved four times within that cold chain before being used.
Professor Stephen Powis, of NHS England, said he was confident that hospital staff were up to the task of rolling out the vaccine.
“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,” he said.
The vaccine is about 95 percent effective and two shots are needed to achieve immunity.