New centre giving out 1,000 doses of Covid vaccine a week

The Pfizer-BioNTech Covid-19 vaccine is administered. Picture: DENISE BRADLEY

More than 17m people have now been given their first dose of the Covid-19 vaccine, according to NHS figures. - Credit: Denise Bradley

A new vaccination centre is giving 1,000 people a week the Covid jab.

The centre at Downham Market Town Hall is being run by the Queen Elizabeth Hospital in King's Lynn, which has already administered 21,000 doses of vaccine.

Its medical director, Frankie Swords, said the new centre had received "gorgeous feedback" from the public.

Dr Frankie Swords, medical director at the Queen Elizabeth Hospital in King's Lynn. Pic: Queen Eliza

Dr Frankie Swords, medical director at the Queen Elizabeth Hospital in King's Lynn. - Credit: QEH

"We started on Monday, we're planning to do 1,000 people a week but we are satisfied we have the capacity to expand it depending on demand," she said.

"It's going really well, it's giving the staff a real fillip as well. We've had members of the community with tears on their eyes they're so grateful."

The centre has 12 staff operating four pods where patients receive their injections. Dr Swords said was space for an additional pod to meet demand if needed.

Nationally, more than 25m people have received the first dose of the drug. In East Anglia, they include 85pc of people aged over 55.

It comes as a delay in deliveries from India and the need to retest a batch of 1.7m doses is expected to cause a shortfall in vaccine supply in April.

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NHS England has told health leaders to expect a significant shortfall in vaccine doses from March 29 for about four weeks.

It said people under 50 should not be booked in for first appointments unless they fell into a higher priority group, such as being clinically vulnerable.

The move means the under-50s could now have to wait until May to get a vaccination, despite doctors having planned to start on that group in April.

Dr Swords said: "We rely on a national supply chain, when it arrives, we give it out." She added the speed at which the vaccine had been developed and rolled out within a year of the virus being reported was "astonishing".