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Russell Group universities join Covid-19 vaccination drive

Image: Oxford University

Several research-intensive universities have turned their campus facilities into vaccination centres

Members of the Russell Group of research-intensive universities are turning campus facilities into vaccination centres as part of the national Covid-19 vaccination drive.

The University of Nottingham has announced two local vaccination services opening across its campuses, with staff and students helping to administer the vaccine. The new sites will initially be used for vaccinating priority patients over the age of 80, the institution said.

Meanwhile, the University of Manchester has converted its former Chancellors Hotel site into a vaccination centre, and will be setting up three additional centres in Beswick, Chorlton and Blackley.

Elsewhere, Queen Mary University of London is providing space in its Arts Research Centre to vaccinate locals in Tower Hamlets, having previously led efforts in the creation and management of the Nightingale hospitals.

The University of Southampton is also hosting a local vaccination centre in its University Health Centre after leading clinical trials to help develop the Oxford-AstraZeneca vaccine.

Vaccine promises

The UK government has promised that all frontline health and care workers, care home residents, everyone aged over 70, and all clinically extremely vulnerable people will be offered their first dose of the vaccine by 15 February. It has also promised that every adult in the UK should be offered a Covid-19 vaccination by the autumn.

It has also said that up to 2,000 highly trained workers that are crucial to vaccination programme will be offered a jab “in the coming days”. This followed calls made in the House of Commons by AstraZeneca executive who warned everything could stop if there are Covid outbreaks in its vaccine centres.

But ministers are reportedly concerned about the pace of the coronavirus vaccine rollout as the number of people receiving their first dose on 18 January fell to 204,076 down from 324,000 on 15 January amid a slowdown in supply of Pfizer-Biontech vaccine while the companies are upgrading their factory in Belgium.

The daily Covid-19 death toll in the UK hit a record 1,610 yesterday, even as the number of new cases started to drop this week.