December 7, 2021

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Pfizer vaccine available ‘next week’ after UK approval

Coronavirus Article Bar with counter ..
Coronavirus Article Bar with counter ..

The Pfizer/BioNTech coronavirus vaccine has been approved by the Medicines and Healthcare products Regulatory Agency (MHRA) for use in the UK, paving the way for mass vaccination.

Officials said that the vaccine, which the UK today became the first in the world to approve, will be made available from next week.

A Department of Health and Social Care spokesman said: “This follows months of rigorous clinical trials and a thorough analysis of the data by experts at the MHRA who have concluded that the vaccine has met its strict standards of safety, quality and effectiveness.”

The jab has been shown in studies to be 95 per cent effective and works in all age groups. The UK has already ordered 40 million doses of the vaccine, enough to vaccinate 20 million people.

At a Downing Street briefing this morning, Dr June Raine, head of the MHRA regulator, insisted that “no corners had been cut” and that the vaccine “meets the strictest requirements of safety, of effectiveness, and of quality”.

Professor Wei Shen Lim, chairman of the Joint Committee on Vaccination and Immunisation, said those who are most at risk of death from Covid-19 and healthcare workers would receive the vaccine first.

However he clarified that prioritisation “is not dependent on what tier someone is in”, as England’s three-tier system takes effect from today following the end of the second national lockdown.

The Armed Forces and NHS have already begun urgent preparations for the distribution of a vaccine, The Telegraph understands, while sources said that around 10 sites will be transformed into vaccine hubs within a fortnight.

Follow the latest updates below.

11:18 AM

‘Wild Wednesday’ as shops, pubs and gyms reopen under tier system

Shops, gyms and pubs have reopened as England’s new tier system came into effect, with retailers preparing for what has been called ‘Wild Wednesday’.

As the national lockdown came to an end, shoppers were seen queuing outside stores in Oxford Street and Birmingham from as early as 5am in a bid to do some Christmas shopping.

Fitness fans also headed for the gym at midnight while others had haircuts at 1am as England got its first taste of freedom since early November, in what has become known online as ‘Wild Wednesday’.

England’s new tier system came into effect at midnight on Tuesday, with 99 per cent of the nation entering the toughest Tier 2 and 3 restrictions.

People in the tougher tiers are banned from all indoor socialising with other households apart from over the Christmas period, but are now able to visit shops and pubs as long as they serve a “substantial meal”.

Read more: England to make most of first day of relaxed restrictions

11:04 AM

Pfizer vaccine approval saw ‘no corners cut’, say regulators

The head of the regulator that approved the Pfizer and BioNTech vaccine said that “no corners had been cut” in assessing it’s safety.

The UK has become the first country in the world to approve the vaccine, which will be made available “from next week”.

But Dr June Raine, head of the Medicines and Healthcare products Regulatory Agency (MHRA), said that while a rolling regulatory process had been conducted as the vaccine was developed, standards had always been maintained.

She told a Downing Street press conference: “That doesn’t mean that any corners have been cut, none at all.”

More than 1,000 pages of data had been examined, she said.

Read more: Experts worked ’round the clock’ to ensure vaccine safety

10:55 AM

Pfizer vaccine: More reaction from experts and public figures

Romilly Greenhill, UK Director at The ONE Campaign

“This is welcome news for people everywhere – which potentially marks the beginning of the end of the pandemic.

“But we will not properly protect people anywhere until we get vaccines everywhere. The epidemiology is straightforward – to be safe in our own towns and cities we need to ensure that people across the world are also being vaccinated.”

Prof Stephen Evans, Pharmacoepidemiology at the London School of Hygiene & Tropical Medicine

“Today is a good .news day. However, we do have to acknowledge several key things that are not being said by everyone. We will not be able to change distancing, mask wearing etc for quite some time – months at least, and we don’t yet know when or whether that will stop.

“Making vaccination available is not enough; people need to be convinced so that they do accept being vaccinated.”

Dr Mary Ramsay, Head of Immunisations at Public Health England

“The recommendations from the JCVI and MHRA provide confidence that the Pfizer/BioNTech vaccine has met the very high standards needed to roll out the vaccine. This is a big step forward in tackling the virus.

“This means it can be delivered to those most at-risk, to help prevent as many deaths from Covid-19 as possible. Once deployed, PHE will work alongside the MHRA to keep the safety and efficacy of the vaccine under constant review.”

10:40 AM

Compulsory vaccines are not on the horizon, says Professor Lim

“In terms of whether it should be voluntary of compulsory, at the moment there is no suggestion that the offer of vaccination should be compulsorily taken up,” says Professor Lim.

“Whether someone wants to have a vaccine or not, whether they’re in the NHS or not, is at the moment a voluntary thing.

“But JCVI is not a policymaking body – policy will be made by ministers.”

Professor Pirmohamed emphasises that among 20,000 people who had the vaccine, no adverse or serious side-effects have been reported.

The briefing ends with Professor Lim thanking everyone who has been involved in the process, and stressing the JCVI has so far advised on the first phase of the pandemic.

“This is a historic moment,” says Prof Pirmohamed. “The UK is now one step closer to providing a safe and effective vaccine to help in the fight against Covid-19 – a virus that has affected each and every one of us in some way, and this will help to save lives.”

Dr Raine concludes: “This vaccine, produced and developed Pfize/BioNTec, has been approved based on safety, effectiveness and quality. The public’s safety has always been at the forefront of our minds. Safety is our watchword and it will always continue to be so.”

10:29 AM

Professor Lim: ‘We will need more than one vaccine type’

Professor Lim says that he expects during the pandemic “vaccine supply will be limited in the first instance”.

“We will need as many vaccines as we can get, not just in the UK but globally, and this includes more than one vaccine type in order to reach all of the people who are at risk from Covid 19.

“This is the start of the programme, not the end of a programme.” 

 It is also confirmed that pregnant women will not be getting the vaccine due to a lack of data.

10:27 AM

Coronavirus vaccine distribution will not take tiers into account

The Telegraph’s political editor Gordon Rayner asks when the first vaccine will be delivered, if the first person who will get it has been identified, if the highest risk tiers be given priority, and whether economic decisions have been factored in.

Dr Raine says that “everything is being looked at 24/7 to enable this public health step to be put in place as soon as possible – not a minute wasted”.

Professor Lim says the NHS is “working hard to deliver the vaccine as soon as possible”, but it is not in his remit to impose any time limits on vaccine delivery.

Dr Raine says several thousands have already had the vaccine as part of the clinical trials.

“We will be inviting members of the public to join us in an active monitoring programme – many will get a letter inviting them to join this. So please help us to continue to build that body of knowledge about this important vaccine.”

Gordon reiterates his question about whether the highest risk tiers will get it first.

“The intention of the prioritisation order is that the most vulnerable people are offered the vaccine first,” Professor Lim says. “Our prioritisation order is not dependent on which tier somebody is in. It is a national prioritisation order.”

10:23 AM

Pfizer vaccine gives partial immunity after seven days, says Professor Pirmohamed

Professor Pirmohamed says that people “will be immune seven days after the second dose” of the vaccine, which requires two doses taken 21 days apart.

“Partial immunity does occur after the first dose and we can see some protection occurring after day 12 of the first dose.”

Dr Raine said that there will be “longer term follow up” on those who are vaccinated. She pays tribute to the “brilliance of science” and the “altruism” of those who have taken part in clinical trials.

Professor Lim says that the prioritisation advice is aimed at maximising benefit from vaccines.

“Whether or not the vaccine itself can be delivered to care homes is obviously an important point and there will be some flexibility in terms of operational constraints”, Prof Lim says. “Every effort should be made to supply vaccine and offer vaccinations to care home residents.

“Whether or not that is actually doable depends on implementation.”

10:19 AM

‘Exemplary work has been done’, says Dr Raine

The panel is asked whether the public can have absolute confidence in the vaccine after how quickly it was approved.

“A really important point relates to the thorough work – scientifically rigorous, methodologically sound – that the agency has done,” Dr Raine says. “This vaccine has only been approved because those strict tests have been done and complied with.

“Everyone can be absolutely confident that no corners whatsoever have been cut. If you’re climbing a mountain, you prepare and prepare. We started that in June. By the time the interim results became available on November 10 we were in base camp. That is the exemplary nature of the work that has been done and the public deserve nothing less.”

Professor Lim said that vaccine prioritisation has been based on the risk of death from Covid-19 and that the most vulnerable individuals have been prioritised.

“The other element is protection of the NHS, because by protecting the NHS we also protect lives.”

10:15 AM

The UK ‘has one of the best immunisation programmes in the world’

Professor Wei Shen Lim, chairman of the Joint Committee on Vaccination and Immunisation, says his committee has met regularly to appraise the latest evidence in relation to its role.

“The UK is fortunate in that we have one of the best immunisation programmes in the world,” he says. “Every year millions of us are protected by serious disease.

“All of that expertise also informs JCVI’s decision-making. We are suggesting that vaccines are offered in order to protect people who are most at-risk from dying of Covid-19, as well as protecting health and care services, because by doing so we also protect lives.

“We hope that in phase one of the vaccination programme, 90 to 99 per cent of those who are most at risk of dying from Covid-19 will be covered.”

10:11 AM

Pfizer vaccine safety ‘similar to those of other vaccines’

Professor Sir Munir Pirmohamed, chair of the Commission on Human Medicine Expert Working Group, says his group have called on the use of a “wide range of experts” in their research, and has worked with “unprecedented raw data”.

“The data show that this vaccine is 95 per cent effective, it is effective in all the groups that were given the vaccine – age, sex, race, or country. The safety of the vaccine is similar to other vaccines, and most of the side effects are very mild and usually last for a day or so.”

Professor Pirmohamed says that the group has advised NHS colleagues on stability issues that could surround the distribution of the vaccine at ultra-low temperatures.

10:07 AM

Pfizer vaccine: ‘No corners have been cut – none at all’

“The development of this vaccine has been adapted so that the trials are overlapping, and the next one can start before a particular phase has finished,” says Dr Raine.

“In this way, we have been able to progress development in the quickest way possible. It’s been done using a process called a rolling review. That doesn’t mean that any corners have been cut – none at all.

“Our experts, scientists and clinicians have worked round-the-clock and absolutely critically analysing the clinical evidence, the pretrials, the manufacturing and quality controls, down to the final sampling.”

Dr Raine says that the public “can be very confident the vaccine is being used in the correct way”. She says the National Institute for Biological Standards and Control will now carry out independent lab-testing so that every vaccine which is distributed meets the same standards of quality and safety.

10:03 AM

Downing Street briefing on vaccine underway

Dr June Raine, head of regulator MHRA, commences the Downing Street briefing on the Pfizer vaccine ahead of its imminent roll-out as soon as next week.

“This briefing has been called to announce that the MHRA has this week recommended to the UK Government, on the basis of the advice on the Commission on Human Medicines, that it should agree for approval for use of the vaccine developed by Pfizer and BioNTec,” Dr Raine says.

“The recommendation has been reached following… the most rigorous scientific assessment of every piece of data, so it meets the strictest requirements of safety, of effectiveness, and of quality”.

09:55 AM

Pfizer vaccine approval: Reaction from experts

Professor Arne Akbar, President of the British Society for Immunology, has described the approval of the Pfizer vaccine in the UK as “a momentous day for us all”.

“This is a momentous day for us all. Covid-19 has impacted all our lives in so many ways and hope of an exit strategy has relied on a safe and effective vaccine. To achieve this within this timescale is remarkable and the researchers should be applauded.

“Although development of this vaccine has occurred rapidly, it’s important to emphasise that it will still have gone through all the rigorous safety tests, and validity of the data on effectiveness will have been assessed meticulously by the MHRA.”

While Dr John Tregoning, a reader in respiratory infections at Imperial, said: “This is great news and remarkable progress given the first cases were less than a year ago. It shows what progress can be made through science and innovation.

Dr Michael Head, a senior research fellow in Global Health at University of Southampton, said regulators have “clearly been satisfied” of the efficacy and safety of the vaccine.

“The Pfizer vaccine does require storage at around -70C, which will pose significant logistical challenges for all countries that choose to use it,” Dr Head said.

“These are not insurmountable but certainly challenging. Other vaccines, such as the Oxford AstraZeneca candidate, require storage at much lesser temperatures and will be simpler to transport. But, for now, this is wonderful news to wake up to.”

09:37 AM

Third wave of coronavirus hitting Israel as officials consider yet another lockdown

Israeli health officials have warned that the country is facing its third wave of coronavirus after the daily infection rate climbed to around 1,000 cases per day, James Rothwell reports from Jerusalem.

Dr Sharon Alroy-Preis, a senior health ministry official, said the rise in cases was “very worrying” and warned that it was likely to climb higher due to the recent reopening of shopping centres.

“This rise does not include the opening of malls or the return of [school] grades five and six, meaning there will be more rises. This is the start of the third wave,” she said.

Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, mask-clad due to the COVID-19 coronavirus pandemic, attends the opening ceremony for Sha'ar Hagay national site - Alex Kolomiensky/Pool/AFP
Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, mask-clad due to the COVID-19 coronavirus pandemic, attends the opening ceremony for Sha’ar Hagay national site – Alex Kolomiensky/Pool/AFP

The health ministry is also considering a third lockdown, including a nationwide curfew, during the Hanukkah and Christmas period to curb the rate of infection.

It came as Israeli media reported that the country’s domestic vaccine project was being hampered by “red tape” and may not be available until summer 2021.

According to the Times of Israel, officials have complained that “over-regulation and a lack of sufficient government support” have hampered the vaccine trial process.

09:24 AM

Kenya looks to China to secure Covid-19 vaccine while alternative in question

Kenya’s president instructed the country’s health ministry on Monday to look for Covid-19 vaccines in China as doubts persist over a World Health Organization (WHO)-backed alternative, reports Tom Collins.

Uhuru Kenyatta said that the East African nation will also seek to collaborate with researchers in South Korea, India and Singapore. Kenya initially moved to secure vaccines from the COVAX facility – an alliance of 187 countries that aims to ensure equal access to the lifesaving injections.

The doses will initially be supplied by the Oxford University and AstraZeneca vaccine which is still undergoing trials and has had the accuracy of its preliminary data questioned. Kenya hopes to vaccinate up to 20 per cent of its 53 million population using the COVAX facility.

However, there are growing concerns that a single supplier will lead to potential issues and delays as richer regions snap up billions of vaccines from a variety of producers.

China has already offered discount vaccines to African countries leading to accusations of “vaccine diplomacy”. It has five vaccine candidates in the final stage of trials before they are approved by government regulators.

Speaking at a China-Africa coronavirus summit in June, China’s president Xi Jinping, said: “Once the development and deployment of a Covid-19 vaccine is completed in China, African countries will be among the first to benefit.” 

09:16 AM

Pfizer vaccine is an ‘important next step’, says NHS chief

This from NHS chief executive Sir Simon Stevens:

“This is an important next step in our response to the Coronavirus pandemic and hospitals will shortly kick off the first phase of the largest scale vaccination campaign in our country’s history.

“The NHS has a proven track record of delivering large scale vaccinations from the winter flu jab to BCG and, once the final hurdles are cleared and the vaccine arrives in England’s hospitals, health service staff will begin offering people this ground-breaking jab in a programme that will expand to cover the whole country in the coming months.”

Despite the huge complexities, staff have been working to ensure that when it is approved and ready for use, the NHS is able to vaccinate from day one. The time between approval and deployment of a vaccine like this might typically be expected to take around a week, due to travel and extensive safety and quality control checks.

The vaccine will be dispatched by Pfizer from Belgium, to arrive at an unnamed location in the UK followed by quality checks after its delivery. These will include multiple temperature checks and GPS log checks.

This May 4, 2020, file photo provided by the University of Maryland School of Medicine, shows the first patient enrolled in Pfizer's COVID-19 coronavirus vaccine clinical trial - University of Maryland School of Medicine via AP/File
This May 4, 2020, file photo provided by the University of Maryland School of Medicine, shows the first patient enrolled in Pfizer’s COVID-19 coronavirus vaccine clinical trial – University of Maryland School of Medicine via AP/File

After central checks are complete, first orders will be placed and must be ordered by 11.55am for next day delivery. Orders from the NHS can then be processed by Public Health England.   

Delivery will be dependent on the guidelines set out by regulators for distribution.  

As the Pfizer vaccine needs to be stored at very cold temperatures and carefully handled, it will initially only be delivered from ‘hospital hubs’. The first stage of the phased vaccine rollout will start once it has been distributed.

09:05 AM

Matt Hancock offers to get Covid vaccine live on television

Matt Hancock has offered to get vaccinated live on television in order to convince people that it is safe.

“Yeah, I’ll take it with you, Piers,” Mr Hancock said in response to a suggestion from Good Morning Britain host Piers Morgan.

“We’d have to get that approved because, of course, there is a prioritisation according to clinical need and, thankfully, as a healthy, middle-aged man, you’re not at the top of the prioritisation.

“But if we can get that approved and if people think that’s reasonable then I’m up for doing that because once the MHRA has approved a vaccine, they only do that if it is safe.

“And so, if that can help anybody else, persuade anybody else that they should take the vaccine then I think it’s worth it.”

08:58 AM

Expect more tiers in the coming months, says Matt Hancock

Matt Hancock, the Health Secretary, has said that despite this morning’s news on a vaccine, the system of tiered restrictions in England which took effect today will still remain for the “forthcoming few months”:

The regulations that we passed last night with a substantial majority in the House of Commons, they will be in place for forthcoming few months.

But you can see now, with confidence, that from the spring onwards things are getting better.

Between now and then we have to got to hold our nerve, we have got to hold our resolve. We can see the dawn in the distance but we have got to get through to morning.

08:50 AM

Boris Johnson press conference will take place this evening

A technical briefing will take place at Downing Street at around 10am, per our Whitehall editor Harry Yorke.

Dr June Raine, head of regulator MHRA, Professor Sir Munir Pirmohamed, chairman of the Commission on Human Medicine Expert Working Group, and Professor Wei Shen Lim, chairman of the Joint Committee on Vaccination and Immunisation will all take part.

We can also expect a televised briefing from the Prime Minister this evening, where we can expect key questions about the vaccine to be covered – and maybe even more of Jonathan Van Tam’s signature vaccine metaphors.

And while yesterday’s Parliamentary proceedings left him wounded, expect Mr Johnson to be in a buoyant mood at Prime Minister’s Questions, from midday.

As always, we will be bringing you live updates throughout the day.

08:44 AM

Pfizer vaccine approval will help Britons ‘reclaim our lives’, says Boris Johnson

The Prime Minister Boris Johnson has welcomed the vaccine news on social media, writing: “It’s fantastic that @MHRAgovuk has formally authorised the @pfizer/@BioNTech-Group vaccine for Covid-19.

“The vaccine will begin to be made available across the UK from next week.

“It’s the protection of vaccines that will ultimately allow us to reclaim our lives and get the economy moving again.”

Mr Johnson has said that the regular recent updates on the progress of vaccines show that the pandemic and resultant draconian measures will eventually come to an end.

He said at the end of last month he is hopeful of a return to normality by Easter , or before that with “luck and hard work”.

08:39 AM

Coronavirus vaccine news: Hancock says most vulnerable will receive vaccine ‘from next week’

 

07:51 AM

Pfizer vaccine

07:47 AM

Largest vaccination campaign in UK history

Hospitals will soon start the rollout of the Pfizer vaccine with 50 hospitals “set up and waiting” for the jabs.

Health Secretary Matt Hancock  told Sky News there would be “three modes of delivery” of the vaccine.

He said: “The first is hospitals themselves, which of course we’ve got facilities like this. 50 hospitals across the country are already set up and waiting to receive the vaccine as soon as it’s approved, so that can now happen.

“Also vaccination centres, which will be big centres where people can go to get vaccinated. They are being set up now.

“There will also be a community rollout, including GPs and pharmacists.”

Sir Simon Stevens, chief executive of the NHS in England, said the vaccination programme would be the “largest-scale vaccination campaign in our country’s history”.

In a statement, he said: “This is an important next step in our response to the coronavirus pandemic and hospitals will shortly kick off the first phase of the largest-scale vaccination campaign in our country’s history.

“The NHS has a proven track record of delivering large-scale vaccinations from the winter flu jab to BCG and, once the final hurdles are cleared and the vaccine arrives in England’s hospitals, health service staff will begin offering people this ground-breaking jab in a programme that will expand to cover the whole country in the coming months.”

07:29 AM

UK has led ‘humanity’s charge against this disease’

Following news that the Pfizer coronavirus vaccine has been approved for UK use, Business Secretary Alok Sharma tweeted his praise for “everyone involved in this breakthrough”.

07:07 AM

Coronavirus vaccine approved for UK use

The Pfizer/BioNTech coronavirus vaccine has been approved by the Medicines and Healthcare products Regulatory Agency (MHRA) for use in the UK, paving the way for mass vaccination to start.

Officials said the vaccine will be made available “from next week”.

A Department of Health and Social Care spokesman said: “The Government has today accepted the recommendation from the independent Medicines and Healthcare products Regulatory Agency (MHRA) to approve Pfizer/BioNTech’s Covid-19 vaccine for use. This follows months of rigorous clinical trials and a thorough analysis of the data by experts at the MHRA who have concluded that the vaccine has met its strict standards of safety, quality and effectiveness.

“The Joint Committee on Vaccination and Immunisation (JCVI) will shortly also publish its latest advice for the priority groups to receive the vaccine, including care home residents, health and care staff, the elderly and the clinically extremely vulnerable.

“The vaccine will be made available across the UK from next week.”

06:04 AM

Stratford-on-Avon taking legal action over tiers

Stratford-on-Avon District Council has issued a legal letter challenging the Government’s “arbitrary and irrational” decision to place it under Tier 3 controls after lockdown.

The Conservative leader of the council Tony Jefferson said the local authority had sent a Judicial Review pre-action protocol (PAP) letter to the Health Secretary.

It is urging Matt Hancock to “retract” the decision to put the district in Tier 3 along with the rest of Warwickshire, and instead place it into Tier 1 or 2.

Explaining the decision, Mr Jefferson said: “This is not an action we take lightly, however none of the data we see warrants Stratford-on-Avon District being placed in Tier 3.

“It is very disappointing that the Government did not use much greater granularity in deciding on tiers.”I know that they have looked at a number of factors including the rates in all age groups, particularly older people who are more vulnerable to the virus; and we have to take into consideration the pressure on our local hospitals and NHS services.”However, none of the metrics for our district warrant it being placed in Tier 3.”The decision to put Stratford district in Tier 3 therefore appears arbitrary and irrational.”

04:01 AM

Australia already out of recession

Australia has exited its first recession in almost 30 years, after official figures on Wednesday showed the economy grew 3.3 per cent between July and September, compared with the coronavirus-hit previous quarter.

With local transmission of Covid-19 largely under control, official data showed businesses have begun to rebound and consumer spending has surged.

The Australian Bureau of Statistics said household spending largely drove the economic bounce, rising 7.9 per cent.

Treasurer Josh Frydenberg said the figures “can give Australians cause for optimism and hope”, declaring that Australia “has performed better on the health and on the economic fronts than nearly any other country in the world”.

The border between Victoria and Queensland reopened on Tuesday, allowing Australians to visit friends and family again - EPA
The border between Victoria and Queensland reopened on Tuesday, allowing Australians to visit friends and family again – EPA

03:19 AM

Deaths surge but US set to cut quarantine time

The US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) is set to recommend cutting the number of days that Americans need to isolate following exposure to a Covid-positive individual, despite the pandemic running rampant across the country.

Two senior White House officials told CNN that the new guidelines will say that close contacts of those infected with the coronavirus should quarantine for 7 to 10 days after exposure, down from the 14 days currently recommended. Individuals can end their quarantine after 7 days if they receive a negative test, or 10 days without getting tested.

It comes as the US is in the throes of a surge in cases and on Tuesday the country registered more than 2,500 deaths, the highest in a single day since April. More than 180,000 new cases were recorded, according to data from Johns Hopkins University. The number of hospitalisations in the US hit 99,000 on Tuesday, a new record, according to the Covid Tracking Project.

Experts fear a new surge in the number of infections now that several days have passed since the Thanksgiving holiday, which saw millions of Americans defying Government recommendations to visit their families.

Coronavirus USA Spotlight Chart - cases default
Coronavirus USA Spotlight Chart – cases default

03:02 AM

Exclusive: NHS ready to provide vaccine within days

The Armed Forces and NHS have begun urgent preparations for the distribution of a coronavirus vaccine by the weekend, The Telegraph understands. 

Military personnel have been ordered to transform about 10 sites into vaccine hubs within a fortnight, including the Nightingale hospital at the London ExCel centre, Epsom racecourse, in Surrey, and Bristol’s Ashton Gate football stadium in Bristol and Robertson House conference facility in Stevenage will serve the capital and south of England, according to sources.

Manchester Tennis and Football Centre, the Centre for Life science park in Newcastle and Leicester racecourse will be the mass vaccine sites converted for the North and Midlands.

The NHS, which is in charge of the vaccine programme, is understood to have formally requested assistance from the Ministry of Defence via the “Military aid to the civil authorities” (Maca) protocol.

Read more: Vaccine could be distributed in days

02:47 AM

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