International

Covid: 10 new mass vaccination centres to open in England

Ten new mass Covid vaccination centres are to open in England from Monday, as the government bids to meet its target of offering 15 million people in the UK a dose by 15 February.

Blackburn Cathedral and St Helens Rugby Ground are among the venues chosen to join the seven hubs already in use.

NHS England said the new centres would offer “thousands” of jabs a week.

It comes as a further 324,233 vaccine doses were administered across the UK, taking the total above 3.5 million.

As the latest figures were announced on Sunday, Prime Minister Boris Johnson tweeted his thanks to “everyone who is helping in this fantastic national effort”.

More people (3.5 million) have now received a Covid vaccination in the UK than have tested positive (3.3 million) for the virus. However, it is believed there have been many more cases than have been recorded, as mass testing was not available during the first peak last spring.

The government has promised all the over-70s, the extremely clinically vulnerable and frontline health and care workers – about 15 million people – will be offered a jab by mid-February.

In a video call with NHS staff involved in the vaccine rollout, the Duke of Cambridge encouraged members of the public to get the jab.

“I know what a massive difference it’s going to make for everyone,” he said. “My grandparents had the vaccine and I’m really proud of them for doing that.”

And the government urged the public to “play their part” in supporting “the largest vaccination programme in British history”, including helping people attend their appointments.

Health Secretary Matt Hancock asked 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.