OVER 80'S and care home staff will be among the first people who will be given the Covid-19 vaccination.

Sir Simon Stevens, chief executive of the NHS in England, set out more detail about the rollout of the newly-approved vaccine during a Downing Street press briefing this evening.

He stressed that the NHS would contact people when it was ready to vaccinate them and that the news of the approval of the first Covid-19 vaccine needs to be “tempered with realism”.

The first people to receive the jab from 50 hospital hubs next week would be the over-80s, care home staff and others identified by the Joint Committee on Vaccination and Immunisation (JVCI) who may already have a hospital appointment.

Although the JCVI has recommended that care home residents and staff should be prioritised, due to difficulties transporting the Pfizer/BioNTech jab, most care home residents will need to wait.

Sir Simon insisted the NHS was “raring to go” to vaccinate people in care homes, hopefully this month.

He said: "Just as soon as we have the regulatory sign-off that we can do that, that we can get the jabs to the care homes so that the GPs and the nurses can arrive and give the care home residents that Covid vaccination, we will do that.

"We – at this point, with a fair wind – fully expect that that will be in the first tranche of priorities for vaccination during this month."

As more of the Pfizer vaccines becomes available, possibly in the new year, the bulk of the programme for the at-risk population is likely to take place between January and April.

The vaccine will also then be rolled out to groups of GP practices operating local vaccination centres, with more GP-led clinics opening up as more vaccine becomes available.

Because of the way the vaccine is distributed – in trays with enough doses for 975 people – it cannot just be delivered to GPs and pharmacists through usual distribution channels, Sir Simon said.

Only when regulators approve the “splitting” of the packs will it be distributed to care homes and when even more vaccines becomes available, the NHS will be able to “switch on” mass vaccination centres..