Covid vaccines will be administered on Teesside next week with jabs given at James Cook Hospital, it can be revealed.
An NHS presentation seen by the Local Democracy Reporting Service shows the Marton Road site will be used as a hub to vaccinate Teessiders.
On Wednesday, the Prime Minister Boris Johnson announced that mass covid immunisation would start next week after the Pfizer/BioNTech vaccine was granted medical approval.
There was some concern on Thursday after correspondence from NHS chiefs showed 53 trusts had been earmarked to help the distribution of vaccines nationwide.
Neither South Tees Hospitals Trust, nor the North Tees and Hartlepool Trust, featured on the roster from last month – with the nearest site more than 40 miles away on Tyneside.
A graphic showing the sites was shared widely online, with many Teessiders concerned the region was missing out.
The plan is for the vaccine to be delivered from hospital hubs for NHS, care staff and older patients to be vaccinated.
Vaccination centres across the country have also been lined up to use sites such as conference centres and sporting venues to ensure better access to jabs.
And chiefs say community services with local teams and GPs are already signing up to take part in the programme.
The presentation slide on “how roll out will work” was seen by health officials on Thursday morning.
The Royal Victoria Infirmary, in Newcastle, is also listed alongside James Cook as one of the “hospital hub” sites to be used during the first week of the vaccination programme.
It is also understood health officials are working behind the scenes to try and prepare Teesside GP surgeries to receive vaccine stocks from December 14.
The preliminary list of hospital hubs seemingly missing out Teesside prompted Simon Clarke, Conservative MP for Middlesbrough South and East Cleveland, to deny the region was being overlooked.
He added: “For the avoidance of any doubt, and to prevent the furtherance of any more inaccurate information being circulated, there are three modes of rollout – hospital hubs, vaccination centres, and (in the) community.
“The map of hospital hubs shows only one mode – and it is simply wrong to suggest this means that the North-east is being overlooked.
“We will reach all parts of the UK through the three modes – and will expand all three over time.”
Very low temperatures of -70C and care when being moved are required for the newly approved Pfizer vaccine.
Health chiefs say this means the jabs will initially be delivered from “hospital hubs” before other local vaccination services are expanded.
A spokesman for NHS England said more information on covid vaccination sites would be “released shortly”.
Health officials have stressed it is a “fast moving situation” with one warning that the list of 53 trusts could “already be out of date”.
Who will get the vaccine
The Joint Committee on Vaccination and Immunisation (JCVI) is advising the Government on who should get vaccines first – with its priority list confirmed on Wednesday morning.
People in care homes are at the top of the list as well as the staff who work in them.
JCVI Priority list
- Residents in care homes for older adults and their carers
- People aged 80 and over and frontline health workers
- People aged 75 and over
- People aged 70 and over and clinically extremely vulnerable individuals
- People aged 65 and over
- People aged 16 to 64 years with underlying health conditions which put them at higher risk of serious disease and mortality
- People aged 60 and over
- People aged 55 and over
- People aged 50 and over
This week the South Tees Hospitals NHS Trust board heard how leaders were working to form a squad for the eventual roll-out of covid vaccines.
Chief executive Sue Page revealed the trust had a team “on standby” to administer jabs if and when regulatory bodies gave the green light for treatments.
Ms Page added: “We can then get on and start that vaccination programme.
“It’s light at the end of the tunnel but we’re not there yet – and we must not forget all those staff out there that are still in the middle of quite a difficult time with covid admissions in some of our hospitals.”
Meanwhile, on Wednesday Sir Simon Stevens, the head of the NHS in England, explained how “logistically complicated” the roll out of the new Pfizer vaccine would be – and revealed how “phased deliveries” were part of the plan.
He said: “The way we will do it is that next week around 50 hospital hubs across England will start offering the vaccine to the over-80s and to care home staff and others identified by the JCVI (Joint Committee on Vaccinations and Immunisation).
”Typically, they may be people who were already down to come into hospital next week for an outpatient appointment.
“So, if you are going to be one of those people next week, or in the weeks that follow, the hospital will get in touch with you – you don’t need to do anything about it yourself.”
The NHS boss also said most vaccinations would take place in January through to March or April for at-risk populations.