The NHS has this weekend announced the opening of seven large vaccination centres throughout England. The centres are capable of delivering thousands of the life-saving jabs each week and provide an additional option to the local sites across Shropshire, Telford & Wrekin. As with all vaccination centres across the country, people must wait to be invited to book their vaccination and should not contact their GP or turn up without an appointment.
Dave Evans, Joint Accountable Officer for NHS Shropshire Clinical Commissioning Group (CCG) and NHS Telford & Wrekin CCG, said: “Some eligible local people have received letters over the weekend offering them the opportunity to book an appointment at one of the new centres. They can of course take up the offer, but we want to reassure everyone that they can still choose to receive their vaccination closer to home and do not need to travel out of the county unless they wish to.”
In Shropshire, Telford & Wrekin, several sites are already delivering vaccinations across the county to those people. They include the hospital hubs at Royal Shrewsbury Hospital and Robert Jones and Agnes Hunt in Gobowen and the local vaccination sites at Bridgnorth and Malinslee, Telford.
The vaccine will be offered to more people and at other locations in Shropshire, Telford and Wrekin as soon as possible. These will include further local vaccine services provided by GPs and pharmacists, in people’s homes for those who are housebound and new dedicated vaccination centres to make sure that everyone who needs a vaccine is able to get one.
Nationally, more than 600,000 eligible people will receive letters inviting them to book an appointment at one of the large centres in the next week. This includes some local residents who have yet to receive their first dose of the vaccine, who are aged 80 and over and who have a postcode that indicates they live within 45 minutes of a centre.
One vaccination centre will open in each of the seven NHS regions this week with many more expected to be up and running by the end of the month.
The first seven large vaccination centres are:
- Millennium Point in Birmingham
- Etihad Tennis Club in Manchester
- Excel Centre in London
- Ashton Gate in Bristol
- Epsom racecourse in Surrey
- Robertson House in Stevenage
- The Centre for Life in Newcastle upon Tyne
The invitations to attend are being issued to people aged 80 or over who are not listed as having been vaccinated at a hospital or GP service.
If they have received a jab since the letter was sent out or would prefer to wait to be invited to attend a hospital or GP service, or they already have an appointment booked with their GP, they can simply ignore it.
People who book into a vaccination centre will be greeted by volunteers who will marshal car parks and register them when they arrive. Bookings are staggered to allow social distancing.
They will receive a health status check and a pre-vaccination assessment before they receive their vaccine from a trained vaccinator, and then be observed for 15 minutes. The process should take under an hour.
NHS national medical director Professor Stephen Powis said: “The coronavirus vaccination programme, the largest in NHS history, has got off to a strong start.
“With more vaccine supplies now coming on stream we are rapidly accelerating the programme and these large scale NHS vaccination centres are an important new way for people to get the life-saving jab, alongside our GP and hospital services.
“NHS staff are under huge pressure with big rises in coronavirus infections leaving record numbers needing hospital treatment but are still pull out all the stops to deliver Covid jabs as swiftly as we can.”
Health Secretary Matt Hancock said: “Through our vaccine delivery plan we have already provided a first dose to more than 1.2 million people in England and we are mobilising the government, NHS and the armed forces as part of a massive national effort.
“The vaccination centres are an important milestone and will help accelerate the rollout further.
“They will work hand in hand with GPs, pharmacies, hospitals and care homes to offer vaccines to everyone in the top four priority cohorts, saving thousands of lives and helping us start to return to normal in the future.”