The NHS in Northamptonshire is further expanding its capacity to vaccinate local people against COVID-19 with the opening of the county's new dedicated Vaccination Centre.
The new centre at Royal Pavilion, Moulton Park, Northampton, opens on Monday 25 January and will be capable of vaccinating thousands of people every week as national supplies of the vaccine allow.
Vaccinations will be provided from the centre by appointment only and people who are eligible to receive a vaccination will be contacted by the NHS with details of how to book. The Vaccination Centre will also work directly with local health and care employers to directly book eligible staff into appointments.
Chris Pallot, Northamptonshire's COVID-19 vaccination programme director, said: "Our local vaccination services have already vaccinated many thousands of the people who need it most across Northamptonshire – and the launch of our new Vaccination Centre will give us the capacity to vaccinate thousands more each week as the national vaccination campaign is stepped up and supply increases.
"Readying the centre for its launch has required a monumental effort, with all of our NHS services working closely together with local authorities on all the necessary planning and preparation. We'd like to say a huge thank you to everyone involved – in particular the staff and volunteers who will be running the service – and we very much look forward to welcoming the first patients to their booked appointments."
Over its first few days of operation, the new centre will be building up and testing its systems to be able to operate seven days a week from 8am to 8pm. The testing period is essential to ensure everything is in place to operate at full capacity.
It will be staffed by clinicians, non-registered vaccinators, administrative staff and marshals who will help make a visit to the centre run as smoothly and safely as possible.
Dr Naomi Caldwell, a Northamptonshire GP and joint clinical lead for the county's vaccination programme, said: "Northamptonshire's new COVID-19 Vaccination Centre adds to the existing vaccination services already up and running at our hospital hubs and at GP-led community clinics across our county. It means that people who are eligible to receive the vaccine now have more choice about where they can get vaccinated locally, further improving our readiness to protect as many people as possible from coronavirus as quickly as we can."
Dr Sanjay Gadhia, also a county GP and joint clinical programme lead, added: "We are continuing to remind people in Northamptonshire that they will be contacted by the NHS when it is their turn to be vaccinated. You may receive a letter inviting you to book an appointment at our new Vaccination Centre or you may be contacted by your GP with an invitation to attend another local vaccination service near you. Either way, you will receive full details of how to book your appointment and where you need to go."
How can people access the new Vaccination Centre?
The NHS will write to eligible people offering them the opportunity to book an appointment at the new Vaccination Centre via the NHS COVID-19 Vaccination Booking Service. Letters will initially those eligible who live in reasonable travelling distance of the centre, and who haven't already been vaccinated by their local GP-led community vaccination service or hospital hub.
The letter that people will receive also explains that they may have also been contacted about getting the COVID-19 vaccine from their local GP service. In such cases people will be able to choose where they would like to book an appointment to take up the vaccine.
Anyone who cannot or does not want to travel can wait to be vaccinated by their local GP service or hospital.
Nobody needs to contact the NHS, as people will be invited when it is their turn and people cannot get vaccinated by just turning up.
People who book in to Northamptonshire's Vaccination Centre will be greeted by colleagues who will marshal car parking and register them when they arrive. Bookings are staggered to allow social distancing and people are urged to support the smooth running of the centre by not arriving early for their appointment.
They will receive a health status check and a pre-vaccination assessment before they have their jab. The whole process should take under 30 minutes.