The first COVID-19 NHS large vaccination centre in Essex opens today (January 18) as the NHS accelerates the number of life-saving jabs as part of the biggest vaccination programme in NHS history.
The centre in Runwell, Wickford, is one of the first in the East of England to open its doors to vaccinate people aged 80 and over, along with health and care staff.
It offers an additional option for people to the hospital hubs and GP-led vaccination services already offering coronavirus vaccinations across Essex and more will be going live across the county in the next few weeks.
Nigel Leonard, Executive Director of Strategy and Transformation at Essex Partnership University NHS Foundation Trust (EPUT), which is coordinating the vaccination centres across Mid and South Essex, said: “We are delighted to be able to open the doors to the first large-scale vaccination centre in Essex as part of our continued fight against COVID-19.
“I would like to thank my NHS colleagues and partners for their incredible hard work in rapidly designing the centre at our EPUT headquarters, so we can protect many more people in the coming weeks.”
Louise Hembrough, nurse and operational director for coronavirus vaccination programme in mid and south Essex said: “It’s exciting and a privilege to be part of the roll out of the national vaccination programme. Our centre is capable of giving thousands of vaccinations each week.
“We do ask people to only attend the vaccination centre if you have an appointment, we will not be able to give you a vaccination without one and please come at the correct time, not earlier, to help us keep everyone safe.”
The NHS is again urging people – please don’t contact the NHS to seek a vaccine, we will contact you. When you are contacted, please ensure you attend your appointment. Whether you have had a vaccine or not, please continue to follow all national guidance to control the virus and help save lives, stay at home and remember: ‘hands, face, space’.
Letters have been sent out in the last few days to people aged 80 who live up to a 45 minute drive from the new centre, inviting them to book an appointment through the national booking service online or over the phone.
If this is not convenient, people can wait to receive an appointment more locally at a GP-led service. If an appointment has already been offered by a GP, residents can choose which appointment suits them best.