London health chiefs are pledging more vaccination centres are to open, with Bexley among those promising to "rapidly increase" the pace of its Covid-19 jabs this week.

London has so far fallen far behind the rest of the country in rolling out new coronavirus vaccines, and London mayor Sadiq Khan said he was "hugely concerned" with progress.

But South East London CCG, which is leading on vaccinations in south south east London, as well as the medical director for the NHS in London, have both pledged to speed up vaccinations in the capital.

New vaccination centres are expected to open this week, adding to the four in Bexley and a handful of others across south east London, including this Woolwich pharmacy.

Bexley Council said they would be "rapidly increasing" the pace of vaccinations this week, ramping up output to met the Government's target of vaccinating all in the top four priority groups by mid-February.

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Dr Anjan Ghosh, Bexley’s Director of Public Health said: “We hope that the vaccine will be the route out of lockdown restrictions and we know that many of you will be very keen to receive yours.

"Please be patient and wait until you receive your vaccine invitation from the NHS."

And across the UK, the vaccination programme will be rolled out to 200 other approved pharmacies within the next two weeks.

“We’re adding more and more sites as vaccine supplies become available, and staff and volunteers are going the extra mile to vaccinate to those who need it most,” said Dr Vin Diwakar, London's most senior doctor.

Dr Diwakar said the NHS vaccination programme is "off to a strong start in London, with hundreds of jabs now given," but last Wednesday Sadiq Khan called the progress "hugely concerning."

He was responding to figures stating that London had only received a tenth of the vaccines administered across England, despite being home to 16% of the population.

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The capital had received 237,542 doses, compared to 447,329 in the Midlands. And as of January 18, over-70s now face delays in receiving the vaccine.

The Vaccine Deployment Minister said on Monday that letters to over-70s and clinically vulnerable people would only begin in areas where “the majority of the over-80s” have been successfully vaccinated.

This excludes London, where only 29.5% of over-80s have been given jabs.

Bexley Council leader Teresa O'Neill OBE said: "The vaccination programme is the largest in the history of the NHS and we are working closely with our local NHS colleagues to make it a success.”

“Getting your Covid-19 vaccination should protect you, your family and those you care for. It will help reduce the rates of serious illness, save lives and reduce pressure on local NHS services.”

When you are contacted, please act on the invitation and attend your appointment. Please continue to follow Government guidance, wear a mask, wash hands and keep a safe distance.

Priority order for the vaccine:

  1. residents in a care home for older adults and their carers
  2. all those 80 years of age and over and frontline health and social care workers
  3. all those 75 years of age and over
  4. all those 70 years of age and over and clinically extremely vulnerable individuals
  5. all those 65 years of age and over.
  6. all individuals aged 16 years to 64 years with underlying health conditions which put them at higher risk of serious disease and mortality
  7. all those 60 years of age and over
  8. all those 55 years of age and over
  9. all those 50 years of age and over


"Planning and delivering vaccinations is a massive undertaking and we know that lots of people have questions about how it will work," said Dr Ghosh. "Along with our NHS colleagues, we will respond to your questions as honestly and quickly as we can."

As with any medicine, vaccines are highly regulated products. There are checks at every stage in the development and manufacturing process, and continued monitoring once they have been authorised and are being used in the wider population.