Thousands of patients are expected to be vaccinated against Covid-19 at a new vaccination centre at the Peepul Centre in Leicester.

The site was one of 33 announced this week and will begin vaccinating members of the public from January 27.

A local GP vaccination site for patients has already been operating from the Peepul Centre and will continue to do so, alongside the vaccination centre – all under one roof. The new centre will be one of a network of 50 large scale centres across the country, capable of vaccinating thousands of people a week. Initially, people aged 70+ and the clinically vulnerable are being invited to book their vaccination at the centre, alongside frontline health and social care staff. They will be invited when it is their turn and people cannot get vaccinated by just turning up.

Caroline Trevithick, executive director of nursing, quality and performance for the Leicester, Leicestershire and Rutland Clinical Commissioning Groups, said: “Our local NHS staff and volunteers have been doing an amazing job, working around the clock to vaccinate priority groups.

“The opening of the vaccination centre is great news for our local population and patients from further afield, as it means we can now offer vaccines to those aged 70+ and the clinically vulnerable.

“Vaccines had been restricted to those aged 80 and above along with care home residents and staff, but after the strong start we are able to open up vaccinations to more people.

“Appointments will be staggered to allow for social distancing and people are urged not to turn up early to avoid queues.

“I would like to urge anyone who meets the criteria for eligible patients to book their Covid vaccination as soon as they are invited.”

The vaccination programme is being delivered by staff from Leicestershire Partnership NHS Trust (LPT). The Trust has extensive immunisations expertise as it delivers the childhood immunisations programme across schools in Leicester, Leicestershire and Rutland.

Angela Hillery, chief executive of Leicestershire Partnership NHS Trust, added: “Our staff have been phenomenal in supporting the co-ordination and delivery of vaccinations to the health and social care workforce through the hospital hubs and, as they step up again to deliver the public vaccination programme at the Peepul Centre, I couldn’t thank them enough. We are very proud to be working alongside our wider NHS family to get as many people vaccinated as quickly as we can.”