Vaccine sites to open despite Beast from the East 2

Practise Nurse April Pearson administering the pfizer vaccination to Teresa Talbot at the Hadleigh G

A Pfizer coronavirus vaccination being administered at the Hadleigh Group Practice. - Credit: SARAH LUCY BROWN

Vaccination centres will remain open, despite forecasted poor weather – but people who feel unsafe travelling have been asked to stay at home and reassured their appointment can be rebooked.

Suffolk and north Essex is set to see up to 30cm of snow between Sunday and Tuesday morning, with forecasters likening the cold snap to 2018’s Beast from the East.

Freezing temperatures and deep snow could create treacherous conditions for older people heading to vaccination centres.

A NHS spokesman confirmed all centres will continue to serve patients despite the poor weather, including the mass vaccination centres in Ipswich, Bury St Edmunds, Newmarket, Colchester and Clacton.

All of the centres are on priority gritting routes to ensure nearby roads and paths are safer for patients heading by any mode of transport.

Despite their confidence in providing a safe service, officials say they understand some people will not feel safe leaving their homes and risking injury – and potentially putting further strain on the NHS.

Lisa Nobes, director of nursing at the Suffolk and North East Essex Integrated Care System, said: “Our vaccination centres will be open this weekend and people should attend their appointments if they feel safe in doing so, but please take great care on the roads, wear sensible footwear and wrap up warm.

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“However, if you don’t feel confident about travelling because of the conditions, please don’t put yourself at risk.

“If you used the national booking system to arrange your appointment at one of our large vaccination sites, you can log back in to cancel and re-arrange it using the ‘manage your appointment’ function.

“If your appointment was booked for you by your local practice, please don’t worry if you are unable to attend.

“The practice will get in touch with you as soon as they can to rearrange your appointment. There will be lots of other slots available.”

Those who choose to cancel their appointment will be able to rearrange and will have a priority over any other bookings later in the week.

Those using the mass vaccination sites run by the Essex Partnership University NHS Foundation Trust will be able to rearrange using the central NHS website.

It is understood coordinators have little concern over any potential of vaccine wastage due to cancelled appointments, with most vaccinations set to come from Oxford/AstraZeneca jabs.