Hertfordshire County Council has earmarked 12 sites that could be used by the NHS for the roll-out of the coronavirus vaccination programme.

On Wednesday (December 2) the government announced that the first Covid-19 vaccine had been approved by the medicines regulator MHRA.

And just hours earlier it had emerged that the county council was already working – with the NHS – to identify sites where the mass roll-out of the vaccine could be delivered in Hertfordshire.

The sites – which are not being revealed – have been identified by the county council. And they are currently being evaluated by council and NHS officials.

The work emerged at a meeting of the county council’s resources and performance cabinet panel, on Thursday (December 2), when councillor’s were being updated on the response to the Covid-19 pandemic.

At the meeting Sass Pledger, the county council’s assistant director for property, referenced the work of the ‘logistics and sites cell’.

And she said: “This has enabled us to work closely with NHS and other partners in terms of providing support both in terms of the current testing programme, the rapid testing programme that is emerging and also vaccination provision.

“We are actively involved in programmes around these three pieces of work. We are looking to support in any way we can – either through resources or through premises.”

And she said: “We were tasked with identifying 12 vaccination sites within Hertfordshire County Council.

“And we have now got a provisional list of 12 sites , that we have put to the logistics and sites cell and they are undertaking stage two assessments with NHS colleagues to assess the viability of each of those.”

Asked whether the use of council premises for testing or ‘any other purpose’ would help the council’s financial position, assistant director of finance stressed that the council would not be seeking to profit from the vaccination programme.

“Where we incur new and additional costs we are in discussion with health partners to have those covered,” said Mr Pilsworth.

“Where it is utilising our resources or sites but there is no direct additional cost to the council of doing so we wouldn’t look to claim for that, we would make that available to support the programme.”

Meanwhile in a statement issued by Hertfordshire County Council, executive member for resources and performance Cllr Ralph Sangster said: “We have an excellent working relationship with NHS colleagues locally in Hertfordshire and are proud to be already working shoulder to shoulder with them on the COVID-19 response.

“The NHS contacted the County Council and District and Borough partners several weeks ago to request support for the vaccination programme.

“This will be primarily in leading the logistics for the large vaccination sites but also supporting the wider staffing requirements for the whole programme.”

Commenting on the preparations for the vaccination programme in Hertfordshire GP Dr Prag Moodley, chair of East and North Hertfordshire CCG, says: “The Government has asked the NHS to be ready to deliver a vaccination programme for England from December, so that those who need it most will be able to access vaccinations as soon as they are available.

“Detailed planning is underway in Hertfordshire with our partners, building on the expertise and strong track record the NHS already has in delivering immunisations like the annual flu vaccination programme, to ensure that a COVID-19 vaccination programme does not impact on other vital services.

“You will be contacted when it’s your turn to be vaccinated against COVID. Please don’t contact your GP now as they won’t be able to book you in.

“In the meantime, it’s important to remember that a COVID-19 vaccination will not protect you from flu.

“If you have been invited for a free flu vaccination, please make sure you keep your appointment. If you are aged 50 to 64 your GP will contact you when they are ready to invite you for your vaccine.”