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Covid-19 vaccination site could be set up at Gainsborough Sports Centre in Ipswich in less than two weeks

Suffolk’s first site for delivering Covid-19 vaccinations is to be ready in less than two weeks time, it has been confirmed – with Gainsborough Sports Centre in Ipswich understood to be the first choice.

Data presented to Suffolk’s council, health and police leaders on Friday morning revealed that the East of England is to take delivery of 9.8million vaccines, although the specific numbers for Suffolk and the timeframe for rollout have not yet been given.

During the Suffolk Public Sector Leaders meeting on Friday afternoon, deputy chief constable Rachel Kearton, who has been chairing the strategic recovery group for the Covid-19 response, confirmed the first site for vaccinations would be ready for December 1.

Suffolk’s first site for delivering Covid-19 vaccinations is to be ready in less than two weeks time, it has been confirmed
Suffolk’s first site for delivering Covid-19 vaccinations is to be ready in less than two weeks time, it has been confirmed

“We are looking to have the first site established within the first week of December,” she said.

“To put that into context, it doesn’t mean it will go live, it means it will be established and ready to receive vaccines and for those to be delivered via the nationally-agreed prioritisation for those most in need once the vaccines have been received.”

Ipswich Borough Council has confirmed that the NHS has approached it to use Gainsborough Sports Centre as the hub for the first vaccinations.

“Ipswich Borough Council are in discussions with our local NHS partners about where they will undertake coronavirus vaccinations in town,” a spokesman from the borough council said.

“The NHS have requested to use Gainsborough Sports Centre.

“We are considering this request and no final decision has yet been made.

“We recognise that we must all pull together to help deliver the vaccination programme locally as swiftly and as safely as possible.”

Dr Padmanabhan Badrinath, a public health consultant with the county council, said the vaccinations will be delivered in three ways.

Each region will have a number of fixed vaccination centres, such as the Gainsborough Sports Centre one if approved, to offer jabs to high numbers of people in one area.

Then mobile mass vaccination sites will be set up on a temporary basis in harder to reach communities or areas which have larger concentrations of high risk individuals.

Finally, a roving service will visit vulnerable people in their homes, but will only be used in a minority of cases as it is highly resource-intensive.

Figures for the numbers of vaccines being delivered to Suffolk have not yet been confirmed, but the county council’s public health team confirmed it would be in line with the phased targeting of priority groups, such as care home residents and frontline NHS workers.

The Government must license the vaccines for production and distribution, and then local authorities will be given firm information on those deliveries.

It is understood those vaccines will be across a range of the providers the Government has placed orders with, such as the Pfizer/BioNTech jab and Moderna, and Dr Badrinath said it was likely around 10m vaccines nationally would be delivered before Christmas.

He said: “The whole thing is new so there are huge logistics to be done.

“There will be three ways of delivering this vaccine – the fixed centres, mobile centres and roving people going into people’s homes if needed.

“GPs are also playing a key role in rolling out these vaccines.”

West Suffolk Council leader John Griffiths said an army of retired nurses and doctors in the west of the county have approached the authority to help carry out the vaccinations when they are delivered, with local clinical commissioning groups collating a bank of health volunteers who can help roll out the programme when it is ready to be launched.

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