Blackpool mass vaccination hub to be stood down at end of July
Medics plan to close the Winter Gardens mass vaccination hub during the summer as more of the population receive their Covid jab.
The centre, which opened in January, is expected to shut at the end of July with the hub at Blackpool Victoria Hospital remaining as the town’s mass vaccination site.
By then it is expected all adults will have had a vaccine.
Jane Scattergood, Covid-19 Vaccination Director for Lancashire and South Cumbria said: “Alongside the NHS, staff and volunteers at Blackpool Winter Gardens have played a pivotal role in vaccinating tens of thousands of people in our community.
“From the end of July, those eligible will be able to get their lifesaving Covid jab from other sites in the area including the local hospital hub, their GP practice or community pharmacy.”
So far around 28,000 vaccinations have been carried out at the Winter Gardens.
Nicki Latham, deputy chief executive at Blackpool Teaching Hospitals NHS Trust, told a meeting of the hospital board the vaccination programme had been a great success, including in prompting more people to want to work for the NHS.
She said: “As a region we are quite a way ahead of other regions in our implementation of this.
“We did experience a shortage of supply but we are now back up to speed on that as we go forward.
“We are going to stand down the Winter Gardens but we are going to continue with the Trust as a hub.
“That hub will be for both staff and citizens, and not all Trusts have been as flexible so again we have a positive by being so flexible around that.
“A number of the vaccinators that went to the Winter Gardens have really got the NHS bug, whether they are retire and returnees, or they are new people coming into the NHS.
“So we have had quite a substantial interest around training as health care assistants and wanting to come and work in the Trust.”
Ms Latham added the whole adult population was expected to have received a vaccination by July 31, with over 50s likely to be invited for a third jab in September.
In the longer term, this could become ‘business as usual’, with the prospect of Covid and flu jabs being administered together, led by GP practices.
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