A fourth Large Vaccination Centre for the region will open at the Darlington Arena on Monday 1st March 2021 adding even more capacity to help the NHS vaccinate as many people as possible as quickly as possible.
Already the NHS in the region has vaccinated over 904,000 people, with all people aged over 80 now vaccinated, nine out of ten older care home residents plus large numbers of front line health and social care staff all receiving their first vaccine. The vast majority of people in the 70-75 age groups have now also been offered vaccination as well as those who are classed as extremely clinically vulnerable.
A significant proportion of vaccination has been carried out by local vaccination services run by local GP practices working in primary care networks, alongside hospitals hubs, community pharmacy and community health services.
There are over 90 local vaccination sites across the region with the NHS working closely with local authorities and other partners to provide vaccination to the priority groups.
The fourth Large Vaccination Centre for the region in Darlington joins the three Large Vaccination Centres which are at Newcastle’s Centre for Life, the NHS Nightingale Hospital North East, Sunderland and the Arnison Centre, Durham.
These large centres complement local GP led vaccination services and are the first three of other large centres that will open in other parts of the region in the coming weeks.
The Darlington Vaccination site will be known as the Darlington Arena Vaccination Centre the address is Neasham Rd, Darlington DL2 1DL
The Darlington Arena was chosen in consultation with local partners for its accessible location and transport links.
Large Vaccination Centres see up to 1000 patients a day, running 12 hours a day, seven days a week.
People are invited to attend Large Vaccination Centres by the National Booking Service run by NHS England. People receive a letter and are invited to book either on-line or by calling 119 free of charge between 7am and 11pm – only people invited to book can do so.
It’s important to note that Large Vaccination Centres offer an alternative choice for people to local GP vaccination services. People may wish to wait a little while until they receive an invitation from their own GP practice as this is likely to be closer to where they live and might be more convenient depending on individual circumstances. This large vaccination centre compliments the work that is going on through Primary Healthcare Darlington and Darlington Primary Care Network who have been running the local GP-led vaccination service at Feethams House in Darlington.
People receiving letters from the NHS national booking system, will be asked to log onto the system or call 119 to book an appointment. This will show appointments at the Darlington Arena and community pharmacy, but not Feethams House. People may also receive a text message or letter from the team at Feethams House inviting them to use their local booking system. They have a choice which service they would like to use.
The Darlington Arena Vaccination Centre will be run by clinical staff, people who have been trained to become vaccinators, administrative staff and a range of volunteers all who make sure the service operates as smoothly and safely as possible.
In line with the process already in place for all other vaccination services, the NHS will contact people when it is their turn to book their vaccine.
Professor Neil Watson, Chief Operating Officer for the NHS Covid Vaccination Programme for the North East and North Cumbria, said: “Already the NHS across our region has done and continues to do an amazing job getting as many people as possible vaccinated, as quickly as possible.”
“Opening up the fourth vaccination centre in the region helps us to reach even more people as the programme continues to expand, giving even more people the opportunity to have their vaccine.”
He continued, “We have received significant support from local partners to help us ensure this site is ready and that we can provide a good experience for patients and staff. In particular our grateful thanks to staff at Darlington Borough Council, public transport providers, local police, and of course our ever-growing army of volunteers and staff.”
“We are constantly delighted by how much people want to help us with the vaccination efforts, we know it’s the way we can all have hope that we can all get back to normal and see the end of this awful situation.”
The NHS is prioritising vaccinating those who experts have agreed will benefit from having it the most.
Since Monday 15th February, people in cohorts 5 and 6 are being invited by the NHS to have their vaccine.
- Cohort 5 – all those 65 years of age and over
- Cohort 6 – all individuals aged 16 years to 64 years with underlying health conditions which put them at higher risk of serious disease and mortality
Local GP vaccination services are focusing initially on the clinically vulnerable from cohort 6 because of the relationship between general practice and those with long term conditions, and continuity of care.
People in cohort 5 (aged 65 and over) may also receive a letter from the national booking service inviting them to book at
Prof Watson continued: “We know people are very keen to have their vaccine but remember it might be more convenient to wait for your local vaccination service run by GPs to get in touch. People should not be worried there is enough vaccine supply to make sure that everyone who wants to have a vaccination can do so.”
Should somebody aged 65 to 69 want to wait to be called by their local GP vaccination service or who have already received the jab they do not need to respond to their national booking service invitation. It will not be possible to use the NHS Covid-19 Vaccination Booking Service if you haven’t received an invitation letter. Doing so risks someone who has not been able to get through and book their appointment.
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.
Penny Spring, Director of Public Health at Darlington Borough Council, said: “The Covid-19 vaccine is helping to reduce rates of serious illness and save lives, which is why it’s vital everyone who is invited for a vaccine takes up the opportunity.
“Please remember that once you have received your vaccine it will take three weeks for your body to build up protection – so it is vital to continue following national guidelines even after your jab to protect those around you. These include social distancing, practising good hand and respiratory hygiene and wearing a face covering when required.
“I would like to thank everyone for their efforts to control the spread of coronavirus. I know it has meant many sacrifices and I hope the opening of this large vaccination centre offers hope of brighter times to come.”