Black Country Living Museum to be turned into mass vaccination centre

The museum will join Millennium Point arena in becoming a mass vaccination hub.

The Black Country Living Museum will be turned into a mass vaccination centre for those in the area.

Sally Roberts, chief nursing officer of the Black Country and West Birmingham CCG, said the popular tourist attraction will start being used as a venue for people to receive their vaccinations shortly.

ITV News Central understands the site - which has also previously been used in the filming of the hit TV series, Peaky Blinders - will be up and running as a vaccination hub before the end of January.

The museum, which tells the industrial story of the Black Country, will join Millennium Point in Birmingham as a major vaccination hub in the West Midlands.

Speaking at a weekly regional Covid briefing, Ms Roberts, who is leading the vaccination roll-out at the CCG, said the group is making "great progress" rolling out the coronavirus vaccine in the Black Country and Birmingham to those who're most vulnerable.

The museum tells the story of the Black Country's industrial past.

She added: "All four trusts in the Black Country and West Birmingham now have hospital hubs up and running and all of our primary care network sites are now operational and delivering the vaccine to those individuals aged over 80 years, our care home staff and priority groups of health and care staff."

Ms Roberts also told how primary care teams in both Birmingham and the Black Country had already started delivering the vaccine to care homes just before New Year.

She said supplies of the Oxford-AstraZeneca vaccine have been received in the past few days, and those eligible for the vaccine will be contacted when it is their turn to get it.

She stressed it was important for people NOT to contact the NHS to seek a vaccine and said "we will definitely contact you".

She added: "When you are invited for the Covid vaccination, please do not delay and please attended booked appointments."

The Oxford AstraZeneca vaccine is now being rolled out in the Midlands along with the Pfizer vaccine. Credit: PA

Speaking about coronavirus rates in the Midlands, Ms Roberts said that the Black Country and Birmingham have the highest rates of infection in the Midlands.

She said that local NHS services are under immense pressure and rising cases are leading to a worrying number of hospital admissions - especially post Christmas.

She said: "We have seen whole wards full of Covid-19 patients admitted in a single day at our local trusts."

She added: "Our local ambulance service also had its highest ever number of calls one day this week, and our local primary care services are facing unprecedented calls from worried and poorly people as well as delivering the vaccine."

Ms Roberts described the situation as "worrying", saying that the new strain of the virus is causing much faster transmission.

West Birmingham and the Black Country have some of the highest covid rates in the Midlands.

Birmingham City Council leader Cllr Ian Ward said he had received a helpful response from health secretary Matt Hancock MP, after writing to him earlier this week with concerns on vaccines.

Cllr Ward said the council understands that it's still early days in the vaccination process, and they want to support the fast and effective roll-out.

But, he added, to do so the council needs "regular and timely updates on progress made and any emerging issues".

Cllr Ward said that the Health Secretary understood the request and has asked NHS England to provide local authorities with all of the information needed to ensure people are aware when and how they can get vaccinated.

Furthermore, he announced: "I am also delighted that after talking to the vaccinations minister, the West Midlands mayor has guaranteed a smooth supply of vaccines at a rate outlined by the Prime Minister."

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