The Baths Hall in Scunthorpe to become large vaccination centre
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The facility is being managed by Safecare Network and will eventually see a team of vaccinators administer up to 1,000 jabs a day, as North Lincolnshire bolsters its fight against the pandemic.
The vaccination, which is free, will be offered to those who live within a 45-minute drive of The Baths Hall, so people from Gainsborough and surrounding areas will be book appointments, and will be in the priority order as identified by the Joint Committee for Vaccinations and Immunisations (JCVI).
Dr Satpal Shekhawat, medical director at NHS North Lincolnshire Clinical Commissioning Group, said: “This is brilliant news for North Lincolnshire, and comes following weeks of hard work, planning and strong partnership working with colleagues from across the area.
“We will begin with around 500 vaccinations per day but we aim for this to increase to up to 1,000 per day.
“The vaccination programme in our region is progressing really well and we are pleased to note that more than 500,000 vaccinations have already been provided to the most vulnerable groups in Humber Coast and Vale.
"Having another large centre in one of our towns will enable us to reach an even greater number of people as we continually expand our programme.
“I would urge everyone to take up the offer of this free vaccination when you receive your invite from the NHS. Whatever your background and wherever you live, this vaccine is a life-saver and there are many options for you in terms of where to get your vaccine.
“We not only have the large-scale site but vaccines are also being administered from community pharmacies and GP surgeries too.
"As a result, it is possible some people will be contacted by multiple sites but please only book one appointment slot, most convenient for you, to ensure available slots elsewhere can be taken up by others. We are focused on getting everyone vaccinated in North Lincolnshire as quickly and as safely as we can.
“Please remember, this will take several months and we politely ask for people to remain patient. Everyone in North Lincolnshire will be offered a vaccination and when it is your turn you will be contacted by the NHS to attend an appointment. Please wait for your appointment letter and don’t turn up at the vaccination centre or ring your GP.”
The site, which will operate between 8am and 8pm, seven days a week, will launch with one pod of six vaccinators. It is hoped this will increase to two pods in the coming weeks.
Dr Mubark Jajja, chair of Safecare Network, said: “We are extremely proud to be playing our part in the national effort to protect people from this virus. We have been living under national restrictions for a year now and so the quicker we get as many people protected, as safely as possible, the quicker we can return to a more normal way of life.
“I want to thank everyone involved in setting up the vaccination centre. We are committed to making sure this site operates seamlessly and that patients receive both a comfortable and convenient service.”
People receiving the letters are invited to go online to the national booking service to arrange a jab at a time and location that is convenient for them. If they are not able to go online, they can call 119 free of charge.
People aged between 56 and 59 are currently being invited to book their appointment, with those aged 50 to 55 due to be invited in the coming weeks.
People can use the national booking service to book at a NHS vaccination centre or one of the pharmacy-led services across the country.
Appointments are staggered to allow for social distancing and people are being asked not to turn up early to avoid creating queues. Everyone will receive a health status check and a pre-vaccination assessment before they have their jab.
Alex Seale, chief operating officer at NHS North Lincolnshire CCG, said: “The vaccines are both safe and effective, so if anybody who is eligible but hasn’t been vaccinated yet, I’d urge them to go online or call 119 and get themselves booked in.
“I’d like to thank everyone involved in setting up the vaccination centre in North Lincolnshire, in particular our colleagues at North Lincolnshire Council. It shows the power of partnership working and co-operation in the fight against Covid-19 and I am personally very proud of North Lincolnshire’s excellent response since the very start of the pandemic.”
Meanwhile, more than 130 volunteers have come forward to help with the running of the site to undertake duties both inside and outside the venue.
Nicki Chatterton, chief operating officer of Safecare Network, said: “The response from volunteers has been fantastic and this would not be possible without them. We are all keen for patients to have a positive experience.
“Many of the volunteers have helped out at other vaccination centres across North Lincolnshire and have found the experience rewarding and a great way to make a positive contribution during the pandemic.
“The Safecare team has worked amazingly hard behind the scenes and we are really looking forward to vaccinating our population after what has been an incredibly challenging 12 months for us all.”
Dan Harris, general manager at The Baths Hall, said: "We are delighted to have been chosen to work alongside the NHS and its partners to deliver a large vaccination centre for Scunthorpe and North Lincolnshire.
“The Baths Hall is the perfect space, located in the centre of Scunthorpe, for local residents to be able to safely get their vaccinations. The venue and our staff are delighted to be back to work on such a crucial project."
As part of the government’s re-opening roadmap it is hoped venues such as The Baths Hall and The Plowright Theatre will be able to host events again after June 21.