Covid vaccine hub opens in Newcastle as the government plans to ramp-up vaccination rollout

A mass-vaccination centre has opened in the North East.

NHS staff and volunteers have began administering COVID-19 vaccines at the Centre for Life in Newcastle, as part of the latest stage in the government's vaccination programme.

Across the country, another 489 people have died in the last day from COVID-19 and the numbers of new infections are still rapidly increasing. 

As time goes by, it is becoming more and more apparent that the vaccines are the light at the end of the tunnel and the pathway to getting life back to pre-covid normality.

Amongst the sad news of coronavirus deaths and separations of loved ones, the vaccinations rollout is the positivity many of us cling to.

14 million

Vaccines could be administered by mid February as part of the government programme

The pop-up hub is the next step in the drive for mass COVID immunisation, designed to add to the region's existing vaccination capacity, with further centres opening in the coming weeks.

The centre in Newcastle aims to vaccinate more than a thousand people every day. Most of those in line to be vaccinated at the site on Monday, work in health and social care.


People a day will hopefully be vaccinated at the Centre for Life pop-up hub

People wait in line to receive their covid-19 vaccine at the Centre for Life in Newcastle Credit: PA

The government is preparing to ramp up the vaccination programme, targeting 14 million inoculations by the middle of February.

Over the next few days staff and volunteers at the centre expect to see a growing number of people over the age of eighty, who are classed as vulnerable to COVID because of their age. NHS England has confirmed that the first 130,000 letters inviting the over-80s to sign up for a jab at the seven mass-vaccinations centres have been sent.

Among the first in that category to attend the hub in Newcastle was Tony Pinkstone, who'd travelled from Darlington. He told ITV Tyne Tees he wanted to get the jab as soon as possible.

I think there were delays locally in Darlington so when I received the letter yesterday I thought it was a good opportunity to come and get the vaccine the following day.

Tony Pinkstone

Whilst the opening of mass-vaccination centres is seen as a positive step, there is confusion as to where people should go for their vaccine.

Where can I get the vaccine?

Some GP surgeries and care homes are already offering the jabs.

The Centre for Life in Newcastle (and other mass-vaccination centres) offer an alternative location to receive the injection

The NHS says it is personal choice where patients receive the vaccine, whether they use the regional hub or stay local, and go to their GP practice.

The NHS is expecting that most people will choose whichever service can offer them an appointment more quickly.

Who can get the vaccine?

The NHS is currently prioritising the most vulnerable people and frontline health workers to be vaccinated

People who are 80-years-old and above, who live up to 45 minutes away from Newcastle will receive a letter explaining that they can book a slot to have the vaccine at the Centre for Life.

There are no walk-in sessions. It is important to book an appointment through the national booking service, once invited to do so.

Whilst the NHS appreciates it can be frustrating, health workers are reminding member of the public that it is not possible to just turn up at the centre and receive the injection. You must wait until you are invited to book an appointment.

People are being reminded to only go if you have been invited for an appointment Credit: PA

Police officers, teachers and other critical workers will be the first people to get Covid vaccines under "phase two" of the rollout, a government minister has said.

Vaccines minister Nadhim Zahawi said the programme is currently prioritising those most vulnerable of dying from coronavirus, but that police officers, teachers and other critical workers will be in the “highest category of phase two”.

He told Sky News: “Some police officers, of course, and teachers will actually get the vaccine (in phase one) because they are in those categories.

"We will very quickly move onto those other critical workers in the economy and, of course, those who are doing an incredible job, like our policemen and women in protecting us and enforcing the rules at the moment, will also be in that highest category of phase two.”

Here is a recap of the current COVID-19 restrictions: