Former school and football ground among new vaccination centres to open this week

Cardboard cutout pictures of fans in the stands during the Sky Bet League Two play-off semi final fi

Colchester United's JobServe Community Stadium is set to become a vaccine centre - Credit: PA

New vaccination centres are set to open in Suffolk and north Essex this week.  

It has been confirmed that the former Riverwalk School in Bury St Edmunds, Colchester United's JobServe Community stadium, Clacton Hospital and Chelmsford City Race Course are all set to become large vaccination centres.  

Each will be able to inject hundreds of people to help grow the vaccination programme as more supplies become available.  

The new centres follow the opening of a site at Gainsborough Sports Centre in Ipswich, which began vaccinations last week.  

Newmarket’s Rowley Mile race course also began giving jabs over the weekend at a hub run by Pharmacy2U.  

Clacton Hospital Picture: NIGE BROWN

Clacton Hospital is set to vaccinate patients against the coronavirus - Credit: Archant

Tim Waddington, Colchester United's general manager, said: “At the very start of the pandemic, we offered the stadium as a venue for whatever it could be used for by the NHS." 

"We have supported the NHS by hosting training programmes and Covid-19 testing - we’re delighted to now see vaccinations starting here.” 

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Fraser Garrity, manager of Chelmsford City Racecourse, said: “We’re so pleased to be able to play a small part in helping the NHS carry out this vital function for the local community. 

"Our facilities have hosted a wide range of big conferences and events since we opened in 2015, but this is the most important task they will ever be used for.” 

Nigel Leonard, executive director of strategy and transformation at Essex Partnership University NHS Foundation Trust (EPUT), which is coordinating the large vaccination centres across Mid and South Essex and Suffolk and North East Essex, said: “The opening of these centres will have a huge impact on our ability to accelerate vaccinations to the people of Essex and Suffolk and protect those most at risk as quickly as possible. 

“I would like to thank my NHS colleagues, partners and everyone involved for their incredible work and dedication to enable these centres to open as quickly as possible.” 

The new centres will be invite only and will be continuing to vaccinate those in the top four priority groups.