A third Large Vaccination Centre for the region will open at Durham’s Arnison Centre on Monday 22nd February 2021 adding additional capacity to help the NHS vaccinate as many people as possible as quickly as possible.
Already the NHS in the region has vaccinated over 500,000 people in the first four priority cohorts 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 80 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 third Large Vaccination Centre for the region in Durham joins the two Large Vaccination Centres which are at Newcastle’s Centre for Life and the NHS Nightingale Hospital North East, Sunderland.
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 Durham Vaccination site will be known as the Arnison Vaccination Centre and it is based at Boldon House, which is owned by Northumbrian Water.
The Arnison shopping and retail location was chosen in consultation with local partners for its accessible location and good public 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.
The Arnison 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.
Dr Stewart Findlay, Primary Care Clinical Director 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 third 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 Durham County Council, Northumbrian Water, public transport providers, local police, the Arnison local businesses 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 6 (aged 65 and over) may also receive a letter from the national booking service inviting them to book an appointment.
Dr Findlay 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.
Amanda Healy, Director of Public Health at Durham County Council, said: “It’s fantastic we now have a vaccination centre in County Durham with the capacity to vaccinate up to 1,000 people per day.
“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 a few weeks for your body to build up protection. It’s also important to be mindful of the fact that the vaccine only protects you and you could still transmit the virus to people around you. It’s important we all continue to follow social distancing guidance, practice good hand hygiene and wear 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.”