Hundreds of people aged 65 and over and those who are clinically vulnerable are being invited to book a coronavirus vaccination at a new NHS large scale vaccination centre at St Johns Shopping Centre in Preston. The centre will be located in the large unit previously occupied by B&M Bargains.
People who are eligible, live within 45 minutes’ drive from the new vaccination site and who haven’t already been vaccinated by their local GP led vaccination services or hospital hub, will receive letters from the NHS Covid-19 Vaccination Booking Service, telling them how they can book their appointment.
The Preston venue is the last in a series of larger vaccination sites which have opened in Lancashire and South Cumbria over the past few months to offer a convenient alternative to GP and hospital services, which can deliver thousands of vaccinations every week.
It remains important that the public do not try to book or go to these services before they receive their booking letter.
People who book into the 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. People will receive a health status check and a pre-vaccination assessment before they have their jab and the whole service will be led and overseen by trained nurses.
Jane Scattergood, Covid-19 Vaccination Director for Lancashire and South Cumbria Integrated Care System, said: “We are delighted that this Preston site will complete the rollout of mass vaccination centres in Lancashire and South Cumbria. GPs, nurses, pharmacists, countless other staff, and volunteers have worked incredibly hard behind the scenes to get the site ready as part of the roll-out of Covid-19 vaccinations. We are asking the public to support the NHS by not contacting your GP about your vaccination unless you have been specifically instructed to do so, otherwise, we will invite you when it is your time.
“The rollout of the vaccine and establishing these sites involves a wide range of organisations working together. We need to thank the significant support to the NHS to deliver the Covid-19 vaccination programme from our wider partners including our local councils, the military, police, local businesses and many more.”
Karen Swindley, Strategy, Workforce & Education Director at Lancashire Teaching Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust, said: “We are very pleased to have the mass vaccination centre in Preston now up and running. It is testament to the hard work of everyone involved in making this possible and I would like to thank them for their efforts in doing so. The vaccination programme is vitally important to driving down the numbers of Covid-19 cases and taking a big step back towards normality, so the more people who have access to the vaccine the better it is for all of us.”
Councillor Matthew Brown, Leader of Preston City Council, said: “The opening of a high-capacity city centre vaccination centre in Preston is a vital step in our fight against the virus.
“We welcome the central location of this site which adds to the options people have to access the vaccine and are grateful for the support of the NHS and others to help get this established and ready to increase vaccinations in the city.
“We are also pleased that staff from Preston City Council will be playing their part in helping the site operate smoothly through logistical and administrative support and pay tribute to all the NHS staff, GPs, Pharmacists and their support teams who have done such a great job already in getting the vaccine out to so many people.
“The vaccine is our best chance to turn the tide against this awful virus and begin to get back to normal. A lot of work is going on to tackle false information about the vaccine and remind people throughout our communities that it is safe and thoroughly tested, including through the exciting Community Champions programme.”
Invitations to attend the new centre are being issued to people aged 65 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, they can simply ignore it. Those like care home residents who are unable to travel to vaccine centres, hospitals or GP-led sites are already receiving the vaccine at home.
Please don’t delay having your vaccine, but if you can’t travel to a vaccination centre or you would rather wait for an appointment closer to home, you can choose to do that, and your local GP-led service will be in touch soon to offer an alternative.
If you receive a letter from the national NHS Covid-19 Vaccination Booking Service and you book an appointment, please make sure you attend it. The sooner you get your vaccination, when eligible, the earlier you will be protected from Covid-19.
As with other vaccination services people should wait to be invited by the NHS. It will not be possible to use the NHS Covid-19 Vaccination Booking Service if you have not received an invitation letter. It will also not be possible to get a vaccine at a vaccination centre or community pharmacy without an appointment. Doing so risks disrupting the work of NHS staff in protecting those at highest risk.
For more information about the Covid-19 vaccination programme in Lancashire and South Cumbria, including how to get involved, visit: https://www.healthierlsc.co.uk/CovidVaccination