Major Covid vaccination hub opens inside former Wisbech supermarket
- Credit: Archant
Frontline health and social care workers were among the first through the doors of an empty supermarket today (Friday) in Wisbech that is now on the frontline of the war on coronavirus.
They took their turn for a Covid-19 vaccination as the one-time Budgens store in Horsefair is transformed into mini health centre.
Those vaccinated so far are all in the priority groups identified by the NHS and early arrivals included Christopher who is a volunteer at NHS car service.
He went to get his vaccine in a hope to get protected and being able to protect those around him. “Christopher hopes that the vaccine will allow him to see his grandchildren and have a bit more freedom in the near future,” said a spokesperson for the Cambridgeshire Community Services NHS Trust.
Liz Dixon-Spain came to get her vaccine today as she believes it is her duty to protect herself and those around her.
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She believes that the vaccine will help her feel safer and hopefully give her more freedom in the near future. She can't wait to be able to live a more normal life and being able to see and hug her children and grandchildren.
“She found the vaccination centre really great and staff extremely friendly,” said the spokesperson.
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Also getting her jab today was Louise who wants to protect herself and help the public, the community and the NHS.
“She hopes that since having her vaccine she and everyone else will be able to have more freedom in the future,” said the spokesperson.
André, who works with young people, came to have his vaccine to ensure that he and those around him are protected.
“André knows two people who had Covid,” said the spokesperson. “One has recovered really well whereas the other is still struggling with the effects of Covid and is slowly recovering after being hospitalised and put into an induced coma.
“André believes that it is extremely important for everyone to have the vaccine and believes that you will be healthier with having the vaccine than without it.”
The Horsefair store provides an additional option to the large-scale vaccination hubs already delivering vaccinations in local hospitals and by GPs across the county.
Dr David Vickers, medical director, Cambridgeshire Community Services NHS Trust, said centres such as Wisbech “are capable of delivering thousands of vaccines in the coming weeks”.
Letters are being sent out by the national booking service to people in the priority groups as determined by the national Joint Committee on Vaccinations and Immunisations (JCVI).
If you live within a 45-minute drive from the centre, you will be invited to book.
Dr Gary Howsam, Cambridgeshire and Peterborough Clinical Commissioning Group Chair and local GP said: “NHS staff are doing an incredible job to deliver what it is the largest vaccination programme in our history, at the same time as providing vital services for people who need our care.
“Please don’t contact the NHS to seek a vaccine; we will contact you. When you are contacted, please attend your booked appointment.
“Appointments are staggered to allow for social distancing and people are urged not to turn up early to avoid queues.
“It is vital that you do not attend the Horsefair shopping centre vaccination centre if you do not have an appointment as you will not be able to receive a vaccination.”
He said: “I urge people across Cambridgeshire to continue following all the guidance to control the virus and save lives – that means staying at home as much as you can, and always remembering ‘hands, face and space’.”
With parking for nearly 400 cars and the close proximity of the bus station and taxi rank, the Horsefair shopping centre is easily accessible for residents and visitors alike. The post code for your sat nav is PE13 1AL.
Parking is free at the shopping centre for up to three hours Monday to Saturday (no charges apply on Sundays).
The old supermarket unit was until recently solely occupied by REMO Wisbech, a community-based organisation who creatively repurpose rescued resources including furniture and home décor.
The NHS spokesperson said REMO Wisbech have recently provided invaluable support to help with the smooth transition of transforming their current space into two separate units, one of which will be the new vaccination centre.
Kevin Smith, Horsefair centre manager, said: “We are very pleased that the NHS have chosen this easily accessible location in the heart of Wisbech and we will continue to offer our support to them whilst they are here.”