'Mass' vaccination centre has turnout 80% less than expected

A mass vaccination centre at Newmarket Racecourse. Picture: Danielle Booden

The mass vaccination centre at Newmarket Racecourse - Credit: Danielle Booden

It has emerged that a much smaller number of people than expected were jabbed at a mass vaccination event in Newmarket.

About 12,000 patients were invited to come along to the clinic at Newmarket Racecourse on Sunday, December 5, but less than 3,000 were vaccinated - and that number includes walk-ins.

Speaking on Sunday, Dr Richard West MBE, who was running the centre, said they had been expecting about 10,000 people.

Dr Richard West MBE, organiser, at the mass vaccination centre at Newmarket Racecourse. Picture: Dan

Dr Richard West MBE, organiser, at the mass vaccination centre at Newmarket Racecourse - Credit: Danielle Booden

The clinic opened up to walk-ins on the day to try and hit that number - but reached about 20%.

A spokesman for the Suffolk and North East Essex Integrated Care System confirmed unused vaccines were not wasted.

He said: "More than 2,000 people attended Sunday’s clinic for a mix of 1st, 2nd, 3rd and booster vaccinations, which is certainly a good number, but less than we invited.

“We contacted around 12,000 patients with the offer of a fixed appointment on the day.

"We have contacted patients in this way on four previous occasions, resulting in an 80% attendance rate, so we know it is an effective method of getting people vaccinated. On this occasion the poor weather and the lead-up to Christmas could have had an adverse impact."

An observation room at the mass vaccination centre at Newmarket Racecourse. Picture: Danielle Booden

An observation room at the mass vaccination centre at Newmarket Racecourse. People there spoke of how efficient the service had been - Credit: Danielle Booden

At Sunday's event people praised how it was run, including Anita Morris, from Newmarket, who said it was "so well organised".

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The spokesman added: "While the event had a lower than anticipated turnout it was an important part of the wider vaccination programme.

"Our local area is ranked in the top four in England for successfully delivering COVID-19 vaccines.

"We’ve administered almost 2million vaccines across our patch, at large venues like Newmarket Racecourse and at smaller regular pop-up events, at local pharmacies, GP surgeries, large vaccination centres and hospital hubs.

“We’re constantly looking at how we can improve the vaccination process and encourage everyone to take up the offer of vaccination."

Leading up to the event, a meeting of the Local Outbreak Engagement Board heard that around 95,000 people that are currently eligible for their booster have not taken it up.

For details of walk-in clinic times and locations go to the website.