Covid vaccination: Rollout begins in the South for over-70s

  • Watch the full report by ITV News Meridian's Chloe Oliver

The Prime Minister has warned there will be no "open sesame" relaxation of lockdown, saying the gradual easing depends on the successful rollout of the vaccine and no new concerning coronavirus variants.

Boris Johnson made the statement as he visited the BioMedica site in Oxfordshire, where the Oxford AstraZeneca vaccine is being produced. 

He said the pace of the rollout was encouraging but the Prime Minister stressed that "we're not out of the woods yet".

Prime Minister, Boris Johnson

  • Bournemouth, Dorset

It comes as Dorset's large vaccination hub at the Bournemouth International Centre (BIC) opened its doors on Monday (18th).

It is one of 10 new centres being opened across the UK as part of the largest vaccination programme the country has ever seen.

Timelapse footage of the conference hall being prepared to receive patients

NHS England said it joined the seven existing mass vaccination sites across the country, alongside one thousand GP-led surgeries and more than 250 hospitals already providing jabs.

It comes as the government urged the public to “play their part” in supporting “the largest vaccination programme in British history”, including helping the elderly attend their appointments.

Health Secretary Matt Hancock urged people to commit to three pledges to “help out”, “join up” and “stay informed” during ongoing efforts to vaccinate, run clinical trials and share accurate health advice.

Dorset Healthcare and its partners say they have spent weeks getting the venue ready.

The service will be run by the community and mental health trust.

The centre will take bookings through a national system and people will receive a written invitation to book when it's their turn, according to the national prioritisation by the Joint Committee on Vaccination and Immunisation.

Anna Chainey, Covid Services Manager, Dorset Healthcare

The large vaccination centre is one of several places people can get their jab.

Dorset Healthcare wants to remind patients that if they already have an appointment through their GP, or at a local hospital hub, they should attend that appointment.

This will prevent wasted appointments that the NHS cannot fill at short notice.

The 10 new centres opening from Monday are:

  • Bournemouth International Centre on the south coast

  • Taunton Racecourse in Somerset

  • Blackburn Cathedral in Lancashire

  • Salt Hill Activity Centre in Slough, Berkshire

  • Norwich Food Court in Norfolk

  • The Lodge in Wickford, Essex

  • Princess Royal Sports Arena in Lincolnshire

  • St Helens Rugby Ground in Merseyside

  • The park-and-ride at Askham Bar in York

  • Olympic Office Centre in Wembley, north London

  • Yateley, Hampshire

Yateley in Hampshire was commended by the Prime Minister during a press conference last week.

Around 90% of residents aged over-80 in the town have been vaccinated.

Boris Johnson says it is down to the way they have been organising health staff and volunteers.

Prime Minister, Boris Johnson speaking last week

Monteagle surgery in Yateley looks after more than 28,000 patients.

Dr Gareth Robinson, Yateley Primary Care Network, says they have been able to vaccinate residents so quickly due to their dedicated health staff and because people "have been really keen to come down".

A patient at the practice, Ron Davis, says he's "really glad he's had the vaccine".

Ron Davis, Patient

The local community have also been very supportive of the town's vaccination efforts.

Yateley United Football Club has been helping to co-ordinate a team of volunteers who ensure appointments run smoothly.

Colin Ive, Chairman, Yateley United Football Club

People aged 80 or over, who live up to a 45-minute drive from a centre, are being offered the choice of arranging a jab at one of the 17, or at a pharmacy site through the national booking service.

Anyone not wanting to travel can wait to be contacted by their GP-led vaccination service or hospital.

Some 641,000 invitations were sent out to last week and another 380,000 were due to land on people’s doormats this weekend.

Another half a million letters will go out this week, NHS England said.

The new centres will be able to administer “thousands” of jabs a week, scaling operations up and down according to vaccine supplies.