New mass vaccination centre in Ipswich opens today
- Credit: Archant
A mass coronavirus vaccination hub at Ipswich's Gainsborough Sports Centre which can vaccinate thousands of people every week is set to open today.
The Ipswich sports centre is one of 30 new centres opening nationwide this week – and one of the first in the east of England.
It is hoped the centre will vaccinate thousands of people each week, and will be giving the jab to people aged 70 and over – on top of those in other groups who have received an invitation letter, such as care staff.
It will operate alongside the hubs at Ipswich and West Suffolk Hospital, and GP-led centres.
Dr Ed Garratt, executive lead for the Suffolk and North East Essex Integrated Care System, said he is delighted to open the centre.
He added: “A huge amount of planning has gone into getting the centre ready, and it will make an invaluable contribution to our efforts to administer the vaccine to the population of Suffolk as safely and swiftly as possible.
“Together with our existing primary care hubs, and the community pharmacies that have recently come on board, the Gainsborough vaccination centre will enable us to accelerate the rate at which we are able to protect our local population from the virus.”
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Pam Sabine, director of Essex Partnership University NHS Foundation Trust (EPUT) – which is coordinating the vaccination rollout in Suffolk and north Essex – added: “It has been a heart-warming experience to be part of this unprecedented vaccination programme and witness the huge enthusiasm and commitment of those who’ve come forward to join the programme.
“We are looking forward to vaccinating our community and offering them protection against the virus, but we do ask everyone please only attend the centre if you have an appointment and turn up no earlier than five minutes before your slot to avoid queues and help keep everyone safe.”
Invitation letters to those who live nearby have been sent to those currently eligible for the jab, with NHS England continuing to remind the public to be patient while waiting for their invitation.
Nigel Leonard, EPUT executive director of strategy and transformation, added: "I would like to thank my NHS colleagues, partners and everyone involved who’ve worked incredibly hard to open this centre so that we can help protect those most at risk as quickly as possible.”
Centres across the county are continuing to work hard to meet the national target of vaccinating all over-80s and the top four tiers of those eligible by mid-February.
Across Suffolk and north Essex, 67% of those eligible have received their first jab so far.