Army carries out 'Exercise Panacea' trial run for UK's biggest ever vaccine roll out before first Covid jabs next week

THE MILITARY and NHS yesterday carried out a trial run at one of the UK's mass vaccination hubs before the coronavirus vaccine is rolled out next week.

Code-named Exercise Panacea, the drill was held at Ashton Gate football and rugby stadium in Bristol.

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Ashton Gate is one of seven regional mass testing hubs where tens of thousands of people will be vaccinated, the Daily Mail reports.

These hubs will reportedly be used to vaccinate the wider population, while GP practices target NHS and care home staff and some patients.

According to the newspaper, 20 to 30 staff and volunteers looped through the building acting as different patients.

They are reported to have trialled scenarios including a patient suffering an adverse reaction before vaccinations are delivered at the stadium for up to 12 hours a day, seven days a week.

The Nightingale hospital in London is also being prepared as a hub as well as Leicester Racecourse and Manchester Tennis and Football centre.

It comes after it was reported that FIFTY NHS hospitals are standing by to roll out the vaccine next week – as Britain becomes the first country to get the jab.

The hospitals that will receive the vaccine first

  1. Blackpool Teaching Hospitals: North West
  2. Brighton and Sussex University Hospitals: South East
  3. Cambridge University Hospitals: East England
  4. Chesterfield Royal Hospital: Midlands
  5. Countess of Chester Hospital: Midlands
  6. Croydon University Hospital: London
  7. Dartford and Gravesham Hospitals: South East
  8. Dorset County Hospitals: South West
  9. East and North Hertfordshire Hospitals: East England
  10. East Kent Hospitals: South East
  11. East Suffolk and North Essex Hospitals: East England
  12. Frimley Health NHS Foundation Trust: South East
  13. Gloucestershire Hospitals: South West
  14. Great Western Hospitals: South West
  15. Guy's & St Thomas' NHS Trust: London
  16. James Paget University Hospitals: East England
  17. Kings College Hospital: London
  18. Princess Royal University Hospital, Kings: London
  19. Lancashire Teaching Hospital: North West
  20. Leeds Teaching Hospital: North West
  21. Leicester Partnership NHS Trust: East Midlands
  22. Liverpool University Hospitals: North West
  23. Medway NHS Foundation Trust: South East
  24. Mid and South Essex Hospitals: East England
  25. Milton Keynes University Hospital : South East
  26. Norfolk and Norwich University Hospital: East England
  27. Northampton General Hospital: East Midlands
  28. North Bristol NHS Foundation Trust: South West
  29. North West Anglia Foundation Trust: East Midlands
  30. Nottingham University Hospitals: Midlands
  31. Oxford Health NHS Foundation Trust: South East
  32. Portsmouth Hospital University: South West
  33. Royal Cornwall Hospitals: South West
  34. Royal Free London NHS Foundation Trust: London
  35. Salford Royal NHS Foundation Trust: North West
  36. Sheffield Teaching Hospitals: North West
  37. Sherwood Forest Hospitals: Midlands
  38. Shrewsbury and Telford NHS Trust: West Midlands
  39. Stockport NHS Foundation Trust: North West
  40. St George's University Hospitals: London
  41. The Newcastle Upon Type Hospitals: North East
  42. University College Hospitals: London
  43. University Hospitals Birmingham: Midlands
  44. University Hospitals Coventry and Warwickshire: West Midlands
  45. University Hospitals Derby Burton: Midlands
  46. University Hospitals of North Midlands
  47. University Hospitals Plymouth: South West
  48. United Lincolnshire Hospitals: Yorkshire
  49. Walsall Healthcare: Midlands
  50. West Hertfordshire Hospitals: South East
  51. Wirral University Teaching Hospital: North West
  52. Worcestershire Acute Hospitals: West Midlands
  53. Yeovil District Hospital: South West

A total of 53 NHS trusts in England, some which cover a number of hospitals, are equipped with super-cold freezers that can store the jabs.

They will act as "hubs" which will offer the jabs to people in their area in order of priority, as well as co-ordinating distribution.

The Midlands has the most hospital hubs that will receive the vaccine, at 13. Countess of Chester Hospital, Northampton General Hospital and Walsall Healthcare are among those.

Eight hospitals in the North West are preparing to dish out the vaccine, one being Liverpool Royal Hospital.

Eight hospitals are in each of the South East and South West, and seven each in the East of England and London.

One hospital is in the Yorkshire region – United Lincolnshire Hospitals – and one is in the North East – The Newcastle Upon Type Hospitals.

And teacher, bus drivers and members of the Armed Forces could be next in line for the Covid jab after the nation's most vulnerable have been vaccinated.

Scientists advising the Government yesterday published their prioritisation list for the new Pfizer-BionTech vaccine – with people over 80, NHS workers and care home staff at the front of the queue.

Millions of Brits are expected to receive the Pfizer jab in time for Christmas after it was approved by regulators yesterday.

The first phase of the vaccination program will see everyone over the age of 50, along with NHS and care staff and those with underlying health conditions inoculated – the groups that have made up 99 per cent of Covid deaths so far.

Care home workers are at the top of the list, followed by the over-80s, NHS and care staff, and other elderly people.

And when that programme is well under way – which could be as soon as January – under-50s will be the next in line to get the jab.

The Joint Committee on Vaccination and Immunisation (JCVI), which drew up the recommendations, has also advised the Government to prioritise people by their jobs in the next phase.

It said those most exposed to the bug at work should be given the jab after the vulnerable groups, outlining: "This could include first responders, the military, those involved in the justice system, teachers, transport workers and public servants essential to the pandemic response."

According to the report, care home residents had been "disproportionately affected" by Covid-19 and "should be the highest priority for vaccination".

And there were fears that elderly care home residents may miss out on the first batch despite being the most at risk.

Health chiefs admit restrictions around the vaccine have created a “logistical nightmare”.

It must be transported at -70C, moved only four times and given from a tray of 975 vials that cannot be split.

The typical care home has just a few dozen residents, meaning hundreds of vials costing around £15 each would be wasted.

But there are high hopes the Oxford jab, which is easier to transport, will be approved within weeks, and care homes will get it first.

The JCVI committee defended the decision not to prioritise the Pfizer-BionTech vaccine for ethnic minorities, but said its list included conditions such as asthma and diabetes, which disproportionately affect ethnic minorities.

It means the most vulnerable members in these communities would be protected.

The JCVI advice also said only very specific high-risk children should be offered the vaccine, as it is authorised only for over-16s.

It comes as Boris Johnson hailed the “fantastic” vaccine approval yesterday, but warned it was not “game over” as he urged people to stick to anti-virus rules.

Mr Johnson told a No10 press conference: “We have been waiting and hoping for the day when the searchlights of science would pick out our invisible enemy, and give us the power to stop that enemy from making us ill. And now the scientists have done it.

“And they have used the virus to perform a kind of biological jiu-jitsu, to turn the virus on itself in the form of a vaccine.”

Britain became the first country in the world to get one thanks to Brexit — after breaking with Brussels to rubber-stamp it in record time.

And Deputy chief medical officer Jonathan Van-Tam even admitted he got “emotional” when told the MHRA UK regulator approved the Pfizer-BioNTech jab.

He said: “What a momentous journey and international effort it has been. Discovery by two scientists who originally lived in Turkey, development by a German biotech company with the involvement of a massive US pharmaceutical giant and the involvement in our own UK MHRA to bring home the goods.”

Lorries carrying the first doses from Belgium are on their way, with 800,000 vials arriving in the “coming days”.

Britain has ordered 40 million doses of the vaccine, which works 95 per cent of the time.

People need two jabs to be fully protected, and millions will be inoculated in the next few weeks, with most of the rollout early next year.

The military will turbocharge delivery as part of the biggest domestic deployment of troops in UK history.

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