Firefighters have joined NHS staff in delivering Covid vaccinations and will work from a fire station, which has become one of 90 large vaccination centres across England.
The fire station in Basingstoke is one of 39 new large-scale NHS vaccination centres to go live this week, along with 63 more pharmacy-led sites, NHS England said.
Roughly 90 firefighters and support staff from Hampshire Fire and Rescue Service will be involved in the programme at the site, which will continue answering 999 calls, NHS England said.
Altogether, there are currently 90 vaccination centres and 195 high-street pharmacies in England where people aged 70 or over can arrange a jab via the national booking service, according to NHS England.
It added that millions of letters have already been sent out to those eligible to get their jabs at the major vaccination sites across the country.
At the moment, there are more than 1,000 GP-led services and 250 hospital hubs taking part in the vaccination programme, according to NHS England.
Health secretary Matt Hancock said: ‘I’m delighted the fire and rescue services are joining forces with our frontline health and social care workers in delivering the largest vaccination programme in our country’s history.
‘[The] 39 new large-scale vaccination centres and an extra 65 pharmacy sites will help us meet our target of offering the most vulnerable, and those who care for them, their first jab by 15 February.’
But the news comes as the BMA had urged the Government to prioritise GP sites over mass vaccination sites for limited vaccine supplies.
GPs had also spoken out against the expansion of Covid vaccine delivery to community pharmacies, saying they have capacity to administer much more vaccine than they are receiving.