Talks ongoing over location of possible second mass vaccination centre for North East in Durham
Health chiefs are in talks over the possibility of a mass Covid-19 vaccination centre for County Durham.
There is currently just one major site operating in the North East, at Newcastle’s Centre for Life, which has been administering about 700 jabs a day since it opened.
But it is hoped the service could be brought closer to home for many in the region and cut waiting lists for those relying on GPs and pharmacies for the treatment.
“There are ongoing discussions over agreeing what a mass vaccination site would look like in Durham and where that might be,” said Amanda Healy, director of public health at Durham County Council.
“There’s definitely engagement with colleagues at NHS England on that.
“As those discussions take place it’s also about ensuring our hospital trust and primary care network are able to get access to the vaccine to continue the community-led programme as well.
“But those conversations will hopefully reach a conclusion soon.”
Healy was speaking at a meeting of the county council’s Health and Wellbeing Board, which was held by videolink and broadcast via YouTube.
Earlier in January, the Government confirmed the opening of seven mass vaccination centres across England, including Newcastle’s, followed by the announcement of seven more.
Ministers have set a target of offering 15 million jabs for the over-70s, the ‘extremely clinically vulnerable’ and frontline health and care workers by February 15.
Appointments at mass vaccination centres are available for those who live within a 45-minute drive, although jabs are also available through GP practices, hospitals and pharmacies.
It comes as the Sunderland Echo and its sister titles runs the Shot in the Arm campaign, calling for community pharmacies to be used in the vaccine roll-out.
Almost 84,000 people have now signed our petition calling on the Government to enlist the help of local pharmacies, which could bring vaccines within ten minutes of people’s homes, rather than ten miles as has been pledged by the Government.
The Royal Pharmaceutical Society, which is backing our campaign, says there are more than 1,000 pharmacies across the UK which could help boost capacity and put people in easier reach of the vaccine.