The first large community COVID vaccination site in Staffordshire and Stoke-on-Trent springs into action on Monday 25 January 2021.
The centre at the Daniel Platt Business Park in Tunstall will initially concentrate on vaccinating frontline health and social care workers from the virus, allowing them to stay at work to help protect patients. The most vulnerable patient groups will then be invited for vaccinations.
It is a major new development in the growing vaccination programme across Staffordshire.
The site will be run by Midlands Partnerships NHS Foundation Trust (MPFT) and has been established in partnership with a range of organisations including Stoke-on-Trent City Council.
Neil Carr, Chief Executive Officer of MPFT, who is also Senior Responsible Officer for the Vaccination Programme, said: “This site represents a major step forward in what is already a very impressive network of facilities locally that are providing vaccinations that will help defeat Covid-19.
“The aim of the community vaccination site is to increase capacity locally for Covid-19 vaccines. To begin with the Tunstall site will concentrate on vaccinating frontline staff who work in health and social care in community settings. These include staff from local NHS trusts, local authorities and private organisations, who frequently visit vulnerable people in their own homes.
“From there we will be in a position to invite members of the public based upon the Government’s priority list which targets the most vulnerable first.
“However, those eligible will continue to receive an invite from their GP and will be vaccinated at a local vaccination site. These are GP led and have been instrumental in Staffordshire as we have successfully introduced the vaccine locally over the past couple of weeks.”
Further vaccination sites are expected to open across Staffordshire in the coming weeks which will further increase the availability of Covid-19 vaccine.
Neil Carr added: “The development of the community vaccination sites has been a great example of partnership working between the NHS, local authorities and other partners. Together we have efficiently implemented facilities which will play a significant role in supporting local residents to protect themselves against coronavirus.”
Cllr Abi Brown, leader of the Stoke-on-Trent City Council said: "I am delighted to see the first vaccines take place at this new vaccine centre.
“This is an essential way out of the virus for us - not only to protect our loved ones, friends and colleagues but also to ensure essential services can continue and so that we can get back to normal life as quickly as possible.
“It was really important to me that people in the city were able to access this service locally so it's a huge step forward. Hope is shining through and we just need to keep working collectively to do all we can to kick coronavirus out of Stoke-on-Trent."
Other sites in the COVID vaccination network include:
Hospital vaccination centres – protecting hospital staff, care home staff and some hospital patients
GP led vaccination centres – these are led by Primary Care Networks of local GP surgeries working together. There are more than 20 of these centres covering all areas of Staffordshire and Stoke-on-Trent. They have initially concentrated on patients aged over 80
GP led teams working to protect care homes residents vaccinating inside the homes.
Some community pharmacies will also soon start running sites, while GP practices will be visiting housebound patients.
Dr Paddy Hannigan, Clinical Lead for the Vaccination Programme said: “This is the largest vaccination programme ever, and we are seeing real progress.
“No-one will get left behind. But it is important we concentrate on frontline health and care staff and those patients in the most vulnerable groups first. So please wait to be contacted, and when you are given the opportunity to get protection from COVID, take it.
“In the meantime we all need to concentrate on following the national lockdown regulations, stay at home and take COVID advice from official NHS sources."