The vaccines will initially be delivered at “a small number of hospitals for the first few days for surveillance purposes” before the bulk is rolled out to medical practices late in the week, the statement said.
In addition to the 700 vaccination sites already in operation, an additional 100 hospital sites and 180 “GP-led services” are also expected to come on line this week. Tens of thousands of current and former NHS workers are being trained as vaccinators to support the program.
The Oxford/AstraZeneca vaccine is easier to transport and to store than the Pfizer/BioNTech vaccine – which was approved for use in the UK last month and has to be stored at -70 degrees Celsius – making it easier to deliver to care homes.
According to the statement, NHS England expects most care home residents to have received the shot by the end of the month.
On Sunday, Health Secretary Matt Hancock said on Twitter the NHS had administered one million Pfizer/BioNTech doses.
British health officials said last week that the gap between first and second doses of the Pfizer/BioNTech vaccine should be extended beyond the recommended 21 days in order to allow more people to be vaccinated.