COVID-19 vaccination programme steps up on Fylde Coast

Exterior shot of the Winter Gardens in Blackpool

Every area in Blackpool, Fylde and Wyre now has a COVID-19 vaccination site up and running.

A large vaccination centre opened today at Blackpool’s Winter Gardens, while pharmacy-led clinics have also now launched at AFC Fylde’s Mill Farm Stadium in Wesham, Moor Park Health Centre in Bispham and Fleetwood Health and Wellbeing Centre.

Nine GP-led vaccination services are also up and running in south and central Blackpool, Lytham, Poulton, Thornton, Garstang, Over Wyre and Kirkham.

People who are eligible, live within 45 minutes’ drive from the vaccination sites and who have not already been vaccinated by their local GP-led vaccination service or hospital hub, will receive letters from the NHS COVID-19 Vaccination Booking Service, explaining how they can book their appointment.

Jane Scattergood, director of nursing and quality for NHS Blackpool and NHS Fylde and Wyre Clinical Commissioning Groups (CCGs), who is also COVID-19 vaccination director for Lancashire and South Cumbria, said: “As the expansion of the COVID-19 vaccination programme continues to gather pace, we are delighted that Blackpool Winter Gardens will be used as a large vaccination centre and that community pharmacy-led sites are now beginning to open, increasing availability of more local options.

“As trusted members of the local communities they serve, our pharmacy teams continue to work tirelessly to provide a vital service during this pandemic, often acting as the first port of call for expert health advice. So, it is fitting that they will have a critical role in delivering the COVID-19 vaccine.

“I know there is a great deal of anticipation around the COVID-19 vaccine but remember all sites are operating on an appointment-only basis. To allow teams to operate safely and maintain social distancing please don’t arrive without booking first. The NHS will let you know when it’s your turn to have the vaccine.”

Kevin McGee, chief executive of Blackpool Teaching Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust, said: “We are grateful for the co-operation of everyone at the Winter Gardens in making the venue available to use as a large vaccination centre. I would personally like to thank the whole team for their enormous and outstanding contribution in getting it up and running so quickly. It is absolutely instrumental in our fight against this virus and the devastating effects COVID-19 is having in our community.”

Kath Gulson, chief executive officer of Community Pharmacy Lancashire, said: “Community Pharmacy Lancashire represents 358 community pharmacies in Lancashire. We are pleased to see our pharmacists playing a role in delivering the Covid-19 vaccination programme alongside our GP colleagues and other providers, supporting local patients and communities.

“Community pharmacies have a vital role in supporting the rollout of the COVID-19 vaccine. We welcome the first wave of community pharmacies going live to support the national effort in delivering the programme.”

The new sites will initially be vaccinating people aged 75 and over, who have received a letter inviting them to book an appointment on the national booking system, along with frontline health and social care staff. This is in line with prioritisation agreed at a national level.

The range of different locations available in Lancashire and South Cumbria means that people can choose the option that will work best for them once they are invited to book an appointment. Those who do not wish to have their jab at one of the large-scale vaccination centres or a pharmacy run site can wait to receive an invitation from their GP practice.

For further information on the Covid-19 vaccination programme in Lancashire and South Cumbria, please visit: https://www.healthierlsc.co.uk/CovidVaccination