ExCel London among seven new mass vaccination hubs

Mass vaccination hubs at seven sites across England – including sports venues and London’s ExCel convention centre – will begin operations next week, Downing Street has confirmed.

Hubs will be set up in London, Newcastle, Manchester, Birmingham, Bristol, Surrey and Stevenage, Number 10 said.

Venues including the Etihad Tennis Centre in Manchester and Epsom Racecourse in Surrey will be converted into regional centres in an attempt to meet the Government target of vaccinating 14 million people UK-wide by February.

Other venues in England have also offered the use of their facilities to help roll out the vaccine including Blackburn Cathedral, which will begin operations on the provisional date of January 18.

In London, spaces have been offered by Premier League football club Tottenham Hotspur, the Royal Vauxhall Tavern and G-A-Y.

The Prime Minister’s official spokesman told a Westminster briefing that the centres will also include Robertson House in Stevenage, the Centre for Life in Newcastle, Ashton Gate Stadium in Bristol and Millennium Point in Birmingham.

The major centres are expected to be staffed with a combination of NHS staff and volunteers, the spokesman added.

Mark Kelly, managing director of Ashton Gate said: “Ashton Gate is proud to support the delivery of this vaccination programme. The stadium sits in the heart of the community and to be able to help in whatever way we can is a real honour.”

The PA news agency understands that other facilities under consideration include Derby Arena; the Black Country Living Museum, Dudley; Malvern’s Three Counties’ Showground, Worcestershire; Villa Park, home of Aston Villa FC; and Leicester Racecourse.

It comes after supermarket chain Morrisons confirmed that car parks at three stores – in Yeovil, Wakefield and Winsford – would host drive-through vaccinations from Monday, with Morrisons also offering a further 47 store car parks to the Government.

Jeremy Joseph, owner of G-A-Y, has offered up all of his venues for the vaccinations, including the club Heaven in central London, which has a capacity of 1,625.

The venue is licensed for 24 hours, so he said it could offer around-the-clock vaccinations.

James Lindsay, CEO of the Royal Vauxhall Tavern, told the PA news agency he wanted to play his part in the fight against the virus.

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