Thousands more people will be offered the COVID-19 vaccine in Cornwall with the opening of a vaccination centre at Stithians Showground.
From Monday (25 January) the vaccination centre at the showground near Truro will be open.
People who have been invited to book an appointment, based on the priority groups advice set out by the Joint Committee on Vaccinations and Immunisations (JCVI), will be vaccinated at the showground.
The centre adds to the sites already offered at the Royal Cornwall Hospitals NHS Trust and through the 12 GP-led primary care networks.
Rob White, clinical lead for the COVID-19 vaccination programme, and NHS Kernow Governing Body member, said: “This marks a significant day in Cornwall’s commitment to vaccinate as many people against COVID-19 as safely and efficiently as possible.
“Everyone across health and care is committed to the rollout programme and is working very hard to offer the vaccines to the most vulnerable by the middle of February.
“Once the site is fully up and running the team will be able to vaccinate thousands of people. It will build upon the fantastic and tireless efforts of our GPs, practice nurses, and everyone across the health and care system to vaccinate our most vulnerable people.”
If you already have a GP appointment booked for your vaccination please attend this and ignore the invitation to the vaccination site.
Iain Davidson, chief pharmacist at Royal Cornwall Hospitals NHS Trust, said: “We’re absolutely delighted to be able to open the vaccination centre at Stithians Showground. We have already vaccinated tens of thousands of people in Cornwall and this new venue will allow us to expand our efforts.
“Our centre will be staffed by clinicians, non-registered vaccinators, administrative staff and volunteers to ensure visits run smoothly and safely.
“We will initially continue to invite people aged 80 and older whom have not already had their vaccine to book an appointment. We will then continue to vaccinate those who are most vulnerable.
“I would like to thank our incredible staff working across health and care, and those at Stithians Showground, whose tremendous energy and effort has enabled us to ensure we are ready for Monday."
People will be invited to book an appointment when it is their turn. Please do not contact the NHS to ask for a vaccine. While the vaccination centre means the NHS can expand its rollout, this will take some time, so please be patient.
Rachel Wigglesworth, Cornwall and the Isles of Scilly’s director of Public Health added: “I’m delighted to welcome the opening of the first vaccination centre for Cornwall. Whilst the vaccine programme continues to rollout we must keep up with all the good work we have been doing to limit the spread of the virus.
“It’s really important that you please continue to limit your contact with other people, even after you have received your vaccine. The vaccine does not mean that you are immune immediately, so we can’t start hugging each other just yet, or stop following social distancing guidelines. There is a light at the end of the tunnel, but in the meantime we must keep our guard up."
Jenna Payne, general and company secretary of Stithians Showground, said: “We feel really proud to have played our part in the largest vaccination programme that the NHS has ever delivered. It has been a huge undertaking and while we are used to welcoming thousands of people to the showground for our agricultural show, I expect seeing the first people receive their jab will be emotional for everyone involved.”
Anyone attending an appointment at the vaccine centre will be greeted by volunteers who will marshal car parks and register them when they arrive. The centre has been organised to allow for social distancing.
They will receive a health check and a pre-vaccination assessment before the vaccine, and then be observed for 15 minutes afterwards.
Those who requires extra support from a carer should have them attend the appointment but is asked this is kept to a maximum of one other person to maintain social distancing. Wheelchairs will be available for anyone who requires them, and disabled parking is available on site.
People attending their appointments should wear loose clothing to provide vaccinators easy access to the arm, and flat shoes.
Please ask someone, wherever possible, to drive you to and from the site. This will allow you to receive your jab and return to your day as quickly as possible, and will mean more people can be vaccinated at the centre.
For more information on the COVID-19 vaccine rollout visit NHS Kernow’s dedicated COVID-19 vaccine page