Video report by Tim Scott
One of the first of the seven Covid-19 Vaccination Centres in the country is ready to begin vaccinating the public and healthcare staff for Greater Manchester.
The vaccination centre, opening from today (Monday) at at the Tennis and Football Centre - Etihad Campus in Manchester, will be used in the first instance to vaccinate those who are 80 years old or over if they haven’t already been invited to be vaccinated by their local GP or hospital vaccine hub.
Health and care workers within a 45-minute drive of the centre will also be invited to be vaccinated.
The centre will be run by the NHS in Greater Manchester as part of the region’s Covid-19 vaccination programme. It will be run on a strict appointment only basis, with the NHS contacting people directly for those who are eligible to book their appointments over the coming days.
Those who are eligible will receive a letter from the NHS containing details about how to book an appointment either online or via a central telephone number.
Jacqui Burrow, Director of Nursing at the Northern Care Alliance NHS Group and Programme Director for the GM Vaccination Centre, said: “Staff have been working around the clock to mobilise this service. They have come together from a wide range of organisations and disciplines including immunisation and vaccination services, nursing, estates, pharmacy, organisational development, IT and staff training.
“Covid-19 has had a devastating impact on lives and livelihoods in Greater Manchester and the opening of this vaccination centre represents a vital next step in the region’s recovery from the pandemic and will enable us to deliver the vaccine at pace, protecting our local communities.
“To ensure that those who are greatest risk get their vaccination first, we are asking the public to help us and wait for the NHS to contact you. Please do not contact or turn up to the centre without an appointment. The NHS will contact you directly to invite you to book and have your vaccination when it’s your turn.”
The vaccination centre will be staffed by clinicians and a range of qualified volunteers. The team includes a combination of NHS staff, as well as people who have returned to their profession to support the vaccination programme.
Volunteers from St John’s Ambulance will be providing support for the smooth running of the centres in three different roles: fully trained vaccinators, post vaccination observers and patient advocates.
As well as these volunteers, NHS Responders coordinated by the Royal Voluntary Service will also be providing volunteers to be stewards who play a crucial role in help people through the centre, improving the patient journey.
Professor Stephen Powis, NHS England national medical director said he is "confident we have enough staff", and the NHS has had a "tremendous response" to the call for vaccine volunteers, with 80,000 people so far having come forward to assist the mammoth operation.
He encouraged more people to come forward as volunteers, adding that it is "critical" the public continues to abide by coronavirus restrictions in the meantime.