A GP working on coronavirus vaccination planning in Wiltshire, Dorset and Hampshire has explained how the programme is likely to work.

Speaking to BBC Radio 4’s Today Programme this morning, Dr Nigel Watson, chief executive of the Wessex Local Medical Committees, said the plan was to look at first vaccinating those at greatest risk of coronavirus.

“Those are people in care homes, the housebound and the over-80s,” he said.

“We’re looking at three ways of doing it. One is in local centres which will largely be run by GPs working collaboratively together.

“There’s the roving model, which will be visiting people at home who need it who are housebound.

“And the third bit is the mass vaccination centres, where we’ll be able to pick up significant numbers of people who need to be vaccinated.”

He confirmed a story in The Sun, that the government was looking to recruit thousands of extra workers to help roll-out the new vaccinations.

“To get this done, is the biggest vaccination programme in history and therefore we’re going to need to expand the workforce over the winter period. People are already extended in hospitals, general practice and in the community, trying to cope with the workload there is at the moment so we’ll expand the workforce,” Dr Watson said.

“This will all be done safely and with clinical supervision and people working together in teams to be able to vaccinate the numbers that we’re going to need to get through to protect our population.”

He said it was important there was a “team approach” at local, regional and national levels on things like the logistics of getting the Pfizer/BioNTech vaccine, which needs to be stored at -70C, out to GP surgeries and other vaccination sites.

Dr Watson said vaccination was the only way to “get our lives back to normal” and save lives. “I am optimistic. I think we can deliver this and do it in a way that we can get added benefit to it as well.

The government has ordered 40m doses of the Pfizer vaccine. It is reported that health officials hope five million doses will be delivered to the UK by Christmas.