Luton residents aged 65 are some of the first people choosing to book their coronavirus vaccinations at the new COVID-19 vaccination centre opening in the Inspire Gym, Luton Sports Village from Thursday 25 February. More than 180,000 people have received their first covid vaccine so far across Bedfordshire, Luton and Milton Keynes, and this new centre is one of six new NHS vaccination centres that open this week in the east of England.
At the same time, GPs and their teams are inviting those who are at clinical risk, including those identified by the Government’s QCOVID tool and adult carers, to be vaccinated too.
If you have been invited for a vaccine but not booked in so far, please make this week the week that you book for your potentially life-saving vaccine via the national booking service which can be accessed at www.nhs.uk/covid-vaccination.
The system allows patients to choose a time slot and location that suits them. Anyone unable to book online can call 119 free of charge, anytime between 7am and 11pm seven days a week.
Anyone attending for a vaccine appointment is asked to arrive just before the time of their appointment to avoid the need to wait to be seen and to help maintain social distancing at the vaccination centre.
Dr Sarah Whiteman, the Medical Director and putative Chair of Bedfordshire, Luton and Milton Keynes CCGs said: “We have been working hard with our partner organisations in the lead up to opening the centre today. We can now welcome local people in the prioritised age groups along with health and social care workers from across our area with confirmed appointments to receive their vaccine. This represents another step forward in our response to the COVID-19 pandemic. My sincere thanks go to everyone, including volunteers, partners and NHS staff, who has worked around the clock to deliver this programme.”
The vaccination centre at Inspire Gym is being run by Hertfordshire Community NHS Trust (HCT) working with Bedfordshire Luton and Milton Keynes (BLMK) partners, drawing on its proven track record of delivering local vaccination programmes in the East of England. The BLMK and HCT team has set the centre up with the support of Luton Borough Council and Active Luton who are hosting the service.
The centre will be staffed by members of BLMK’s volunteer bureau and several Easy Jet staff who are a brilliant addition to the workforce with great customer service skills and a real can-do attitude to taking on anything that is asked of them. Clinical staff are a mixture of new recruits, registered clinicians returning to help out following retirement, and redeployed staff from across the region.