Taunton Racecourse the latest Covid-19 vaccination site from next week

TAUNTON Racecourse is being turned into a large Covid vaccination centre from Monday (January 18).

The site will open seven days a week, 8am – 8pm to offer the Covid-19 jab to people across Somerset, supporting the accelerated roll out of the local vaccination programme.

[Owl has already received reports of over 80s in the western half of East Devon receiving letters of invitation who have yet to be invited to a more local centre. It seems the “within 45 minutes” is a bit elastic. Just how well is Devon currently being served and are these mega site being given priority over GP run services see this post? Accessibility is an important factor for the elderly.]

Phil Hill www.somersetcountygazette.co.uk

The racecourse will be providing vaccines for people in the highest priority groups including the over 80s and health and care staff.

Health and care organisations have been working together over the last few weeks to put detailed plans in place to prepare the site to deliver the large scale vaccination programme.

Alison Wootton, Joint Senior Responsible Officer for the Somerset Covid-19 Vaccination Programme, said “This is a really exciting development in our local fight against the coronavirus pandemic. We are really pleased to use the racecourse setting in addition to the thirteen GP-led community sites and two hospital hubs already in place”

“We know that many people have been eagerly awaiting the news of any additional large scale vaccination centres and we’re confident that this large scale site will rapidly increase the number of people that can be vaccinated quickly and safely across Somerset.

“We are very grateful for the phenomenal support of all our health and care colleagues for their enthusiasm and dedication in the roll out of our vaccination services across Somerset, and to the hundreds of volunteers who have offered their time to support the smooth running of our new vaccination centre and our GP led community sites.”

Over the weekend, NHS letters will be sent to local residents from the priority groups who live up to 45 minutes away from the new site.

People will be invited to book their jab through the new national booking services by phone, or online. The centre will be an additional option for people to have their Covid-19 jab, but people can also choose to wait to be called by their local GP surgery if they prefer.

Trudi Grant, Director of Public Health at Somerset County Council said: “I’m thrilled Taunton Racecourse is set to start vaccinating those in priority groups from Monday. This will substantially increase the number of vaccinations we are delivering across Somerset and help protect our most vulnerable from this deadly disease.

“I want to thank everyone who has been involved in setting up and organising all our vaccination centres in such a short space of time, including the NHS, Somerset County Council staff, our District Council partners, community groups and volunteers. This really is the largest vaccination programme ever delivered in our living history.

“We’ll continue to contact you when it is your turn to be vaccinated – and please remember to continue to abide by the ‘hands, face, space’ message, even after you’ve been vaccinated.”

The new large vaccination site will continue to offer vaccinations to the priority groups as identified by the Joint Committee for Vaccination and Immunisation. It is anticipated that once fully operational the site will be able to deliver around 900 vaccinations a day.

Bob Young, Managing Director of Taunton Racecourse added: “Taunton Racecourse is very pleased to be able to help the NHS by accommodating the vaccine centre.

“We are all immensely grateful and full of admiration for our NHS staff and hope that the people of Taunton and surrounding areas will benefit from a vaccination jab as soon as possible.”

People should continue to wait to be contacted by the NHS, either by a letter or phone call – please do not call the race course, or turn up without an appointment.

Healthcare teams are working extremely hard to vaccinate our most vulnerable groups as quickly as possible. Please be patient and the NHS will contact you directly when it is your turn – don’t call your GP surgery or local hospital to ask about your appointment.”

People are asked to support the NHS:

•Don’t contact the NHS or visit any of the vaccination sites to ask about your vaccine – you will be contacted;

•When you are contacted, attend your booked appointments;

•Follow all the guidance to control the spread of the virus and save lives.

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