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Sadiq Khan thanks NHS as ExCel set to host mass vaccination centre

The Mayor of London has welcomed the news of a mass coronavirus vaccination centre opening in London, set to start giving out jabs next week.

London’s Excel centre was yesterday confirmed to host one of the seven mass coronavirus vaccination centres announced by the Government earlier this week.

And the Mayor of London, Sadiq Khan, thanked the NHS, whilst warning people to follow the new national lockdown rules issued by the Government on Monday.

Khan said: “I want to thank our amazing NHS for working at speed to prepare the ExCel centre in London to be used as one of seven new large-scale vaccination venues across the country.

“Opening next week, this new vaccine centre will play a crucial role in boosting the vaccine roll-out, ensuring we can swiftly immunise those most vulnerable to the virus, and those on the front-line caring for them.

“The new variant of the virus is spreading quickly and our NHS is under pressure. We need the Government to be ambitious and to take every step possible to accelerate the vaccine programme rapidly.

“The best way for all of us to support the NHS and save lives is to stick to the lockdown restrictions. It would be such a tragedy to lose even more people to this disease when the vaccines are now being rolled out.

“The situation in the capital is now critical and I have declared a major incident because the threat this virus poses to our city is at crisis point.

“We must work together to get the spread of the virus under control and that’s why I am urging Londoners to stay at home, unless it is absolutely necessary, to protect themselves, others and our NHS.”

Other mass vaccination sites are located at Manchester, Bristol and Birmingham as well as Newcastle, Stevenage and Surrey.

The centres are part of the Government’s drive to vaccinate 13 million people by mid-February.

Latest NHS figures show 1.1 million people have currently been vaccinated in England, with Prime Minister Boris Johnson claiming 1.3 million have been vaccinated across the whole of the UK.

The third national lockdown, confirmed in a vote by MPs yesterday, is not expected to be relaxed unless the target is met, with a stay-at-home order imposed, all non-essential shops as well as hospitality closed, and schools and universities also shut.

The 13 million people are made up of those over the age of 70, elderly care home residents, frontline NHS staff, care workers and those working in care homes, as well as younger adults who are clinically vulnerable.

The news comes as yesterday the UK suffered its highest number of coronavirus related deaths since April, with 1,041 people losing their lives to the virus.

The Prime Minister has scheduled another press conference for 5pm, which will likely include an update on vaccinations and set out the role that the army is expected to play in delivering mass vaccination.

For the latest coronavirus guidance, click here.

Featured image credit: N Chadwick Geograph Britain and Ireland under CC licence

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