New football stadium vaccination centre 'vital' in fight against Covid-19

William Ketley after he received his vaccination. Picture: SARAH LUCY BROWN

William Ketley after he received his vaccination at the new Colchester mass vaccination centre - Credit: Sarah Lucy Brown

A new coronavirus mass vaccination centre at Colchester United's stadium will prove "vital" in the region's fight against coronavirus, a senior NHS director said.

The new centre at the JobServe Community Stadium opened on Tuesday morning, February 2, one week after a similar centre opened at Ipswich's Gainsborough Sports Centre.

Both centres have the capacity to vaccinate hundreds every day, and will take on patients who live within a 45-mile radius.

Among the first to receive their first dose of the vaccine – those in the top four priority groups – included retired NHS staff.

Pam Sabine, Operational Programme Director. Picture: SARAH LUCY BROWN

Pam Sabine, director of the Essex Partnership University NHS Foundation Trust - Credit: Sarah Lucy Brown

Pam Sabine, director of the Essex Partnership University NHS Foundation Trust – who are coordinating the vaccine rollout in Suffolk and Essex – said she was pleased to see the centre open.


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Ms Sabine said: "I'm very pleased indeed. This is the second site we have opened, after we opened the Gainsborough centre last week.

"It has taken months of planning to get us this far and the fact we have the vaccine now and continue administering it to people is very exciting.

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"It has also gone absolutely swimmingly. The staff have got into it and the patients have been coming in a steady flow, so we've obviously got the appointment system right. Everyone is moving through the system smoothly."

Paul Taylor, who had his vaccination at the home of Colchester United FC. Picture: SARAH LUCY BROWN

Paul Taylor, who had his vaccination at the home of Colchester United FC - Credit: Sarah Lucy Brown

Mrs Sabine said centres such as this will be "vital" in the region's fight against the virus.

"These centres are absolutely vital in our fight against Covid-19, they can take larger numbers of people and gives them extra choice as to whether they visit a hospital, GP or one of our centres.

"We need the capacity within the system to deliver the numbers of the vaccines that we need to."

Jennifer Vandermark after she received her vaccine at the Jobserve Community Stadium. Picture: SARA

Jennifer Vandermark after she received her vaccine at the Jobserve Community Stadium - Credit: Sarah Lucy Brown

More centres are expected to open in the future in both Suffolk and Essex, with Clacton Hospital's centre set to open on Sunday. Another centre in Bury St Edmunds, at the former Riverwalk School, will open on Thursday.

Jobserve Community Stadium in Colchester is now being used as a mass vaccination centre. Picture: S

Jobserve Community Stadium in Colchester is now being used as a mass vaccination centre - Credit: Sarah Lucy Brown

Ms Sabine added the NHS will remain tight-lipped over the locations of future sites and their anticipated opening dates, although centres have been planned taking the area of Suffolk and north Essex in mind.

It is understood both Suffolk and Essex will eventually have 15 mass vaccination sites, all capable of vaccinating thousands of people every week. In addition to those sites, there are currently 20 GP surgeries in the region offering the jab.

Three pharmacies across the two counties are also offering vaccinations.

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