FRONTLINE healthcare workers will be among the first to get Covid-19 jabs as a huge new vaccination operation begins at the Kassam Stadium in Oxford today.

The official announcement about the hub comes after the Oxford Mail revealed last week that the home of Oxford United Football Club would be turned into a mass vaccination centre.

The new hub will kick off by vaccinating priority patient-facing staff who work on community and mental health wards, as well as those who work in the community such as district nurses, before opening its doors to patients.

The football stadium is the first mass centre that Oxford Health NHS Foundation Trust is setting up as a lead vaccinations provider in Oxfordshire, Buckinghamshire and Berkshire West.

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People aged 75 and over will shortly be invited to make an appointment for their first vaccination of the Oxford AstraZeneca vaccine at the Kassam.

With the latest openings, the football stadium now forms part of a network of almost 50 large-scale centres across the country.

The first seven, which can jab thousands of people a week, opened two weeks ago with another ten opening last week.

Commenting on the launch of the vaccination centre, Dr Nick Broughton, CEO of Oxford Health, said: "I am delighted that Oxford Health is now playing its critical part in the roll-out the vaccination programme.

"This step means we can deliver inoculations at pace so that thousands more people can be protected from Covid-19.

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"I would like to pay tribute to my project team at Oxford Health who have dedicated themselves with such commitment to ensuring that the vaccination centre is ready to serve the public.

"It is also wonderful that we will be administering the Oxford vaccine developed by Oxford scientists, in the city where it was created, to the local population.

"Our work will build on the great accomplishments already achieved in the local system.

"Our NHS and local authority colleagues have worked tirelessly to protect priority patients as well as health and social care staff."

The Kassam Stadium will be open to the public by invitation only, seven days a week, from 8am to 8pm.

People who cannot or do not want to travel to a vaccination centre can wait to be invited for a jab at a local GP-led service or hospital hub.

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More than 1,000 GP services and 250 hospital sites are now offering vaccinations in England.

Across Oxfordshire, at least 70 GP practices have been vaccinating residents, with some of them already given the first dose of a Covid-19 jab to people in the first category.

The new vaccination centres, including Kassam Stadium, will each be capable of delivering thousands of jabs each week but scaling up and down according to vaccine supplies and demand.

NHS staff have already delivered more than five million doses of the vaccine and each centre will be capable of jabbing thousands of people every week depending on supply.

According to the latest data available, 140 people received the jab every minute last week, however, the NHS hopes to increase that rate this week.

People in Oxfordshire are reminded not to turn up to the Kassam Stadium without having an appointment and wait to be invited for one by a letter.