Covid: Where, how and when can I be vaccinated in the Midlands?

  • The Director of Public Health in Birmingham, Dr Justin Varney, explains how the vaccine rollout is working

Who is getting the vaccine?

People are being offered the Coronavirus vaccine in a set order, based on how likely it is that they will become seriously ill if they catch Covid-19.

The order is based on advice from the Joint Committee on Vaccination and Immunisation (JCVI).

  • Vaccine priority groups:

Phase One

1. Residents in care homes for older adults and their carers

2. 80-year-olds and over and frontline health and social care workers

3. 75-year-olds and over

4. 70-year-olds and over and clinically extremely vulnerable individuals

5. 65-year-olds and over

6. 16- to 64-year-olds with serious underlying health conditions

7. 60-year-olds and over

8. 55-year-olds and over

9. 50-year-olds and over


Phase Two

1. 40-year-olds and over

2. 30-year-olds and over

3. 18-year-olds and over

What will it be like?

Bob Warman got his vaccine at the Artrix Centre in Bromsgrove - and shows you what will happen step by step through the process.

Ben Canham, who lives in Melton Mowbray, has autism. He filmed himself getting the vaccine as he wanted to reassure other people with learning disabilities that it's nothing to worry about.

Where will I go to be vaccinated?

It will depend on your location and appointment availability when you receive your letter, and you either telephone or go online to book your appointment.

The NHS will be delivering the vaccine in 3 main ways:  

  • Hospital hubs - NHS providers vaccinating on site 

  • Mass vaccination centres – large sites such as sports and conference venues set up for high volumes of people.

Where are the Midlands mass vaccination hubs?

Here are some of the first mass vaccination hubs to open.

  • Derby Arena

Derby Arena opened its doors as a vaccination centre on Thursday, January 7.

  • Millennium Point

Millennium Point in Birmingham opened as a mass vaccination centre on Monday 11 January. It was the first in the West Midlands and is run by the NHS in Birmingham and Solihull.

  • The Black Country Living Museum

The popular tourist attraction - which has also previously been used in the filming of the hit TV series, Peaky Blinders - opened on January 25th for those who've been asked to attend an appointment.

The tourist attraction will act as a vaccination hub for people in Birmingham and the Black Country.

  • Former Wickes warehouse, Mansfield

This centre, in a former warehouse, opened on January 25th, one of 31 new sites opening across England in the same week.

86-year-old Jenny Holland and her new husband Geoff, who is 90-years-old, were some of the first people to receive their jabs. Credit: PA

Newly-weds, 86-year-old Jenny Holland and her new husband Geoff, who is 90-years-old, were some of the first to get their jabs. They met at an independent living centre in the town.

  • Stoneleigh Park Agricultural Centre, Warwickshire

The vaccination centre at Stoneleigh Park on 26th January 2021 Credit: ITV News Central

  • Peepul Centre, Leicester

It opened on January 27th as a mass vaccination centre after already acting as a GP vaccination site.

  • Asda supermarket, Smethwick

Asda in Cape Hill became the first supermarket to begin vaccinations on Thursday 28th January.

Harbans Kaur, 78, was the first person to receive the jab, and her daughter said "It’s easy, you’re coming in for a pint of milk and you’re getting your jab done at the same time!" 

What will I be receiving?

Three vaccines have now been approved for use in the UK.

Despite the increase in vaccine approval and a cranking up in the number of venues providing the jabs, a number of councils have voiced outrage over the number of people not attending their appointment.

How does the Pfizer vaccine work?

Those receiving the Pfizer/BioNTech Covid-19 vaccine will need two appointments as it has to be given in 2 doses, 21 days apart.

The science behind the vaccine is new.

Unlike other vaccines, it doesn't use a harmless dose of the virus to trigger an immune response and so protect you from catching it in future.

An mRNA vaccine is injected into the body where it enters cells and tells them to create antigens.

These antigens are recognised by the immune system and prepare it to fight coronavirus.

No virus is needed to create an mRNA vaccine, meaning the rate at which the vaccine can be produced is accelerated.

One downside to mRNA vaccines is that they need to be stored at ultra-cold temperatures, around -70 and -80 degrees, and they cannot be transported easily.

How does the AstraZeneca/Oxford vaccine work?

The vaccine – called ChAdOx1 nCoV-19 – uses a harmless, weakened version of a common virus which causes a cold in chimpanzees.

Researchers have already used this technology to produce vaccines against a number of pathogens including flu, Zika and Middle East respiratory syndrome (Mers).

The virus is genetically modified so it is impossible for it to grow in humans.

Scientists have transferred the genetic instructions for coronavirus’s specific “spike protein” – which it needs to invade cells – to the vaccine.

When the vaccine enters cells inside the body, it uses this genetic code to produce the surface spike protein of the coronavirus.

This induces an immune response, priming the immune system to attack coronavirus if it infects the body.

How does the Moderna vaccine work?

The Moderna jab is also a messenger RNA (mRNA) vaccine, so uses the genetic code of the coronavirus rather than a harmless does of it.

Like the Pfizer vaccine, it's injected into the body and causes cells to create antigens. These are then recognised by the immune system and prepare it to fight coronavirus.

Biopsies of patients' tumours and a machine learning algorithm could allow scientists to create 'personalised' vaccines. Credit: PA

Can we go back to normal after having the vaccine?

Experts say people must continue to follow covid guidelines until rates across the region are manageable.

Boris Johnson has rolled out a roadmap out of lockdown which does aim to gradually relax social distancing as more people are given protection, but it all depends on the success of the vaccine roll out and a reduction in infection rates.

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