Thousands invited to new NHS vaccination centre in Blackburn Cathedral

Picture of Martin Bach, 81, having vaccination
Thousands of people aged 80 and over are being invited to book a coronavirus vaccination at a new NHS larger scale vaccination centre at Blackburn Cathedral.

People who are eligible, live within 45 minutes’ drive from the new vaccination site and who haven’t already been vaccinated by their local GP led vaccination services or hospital hub, will receive letters from the NHS COVID-19 Vaccination Booking Service, telling them how they can book their appointment.

Now that more doses of Covid-19 vaccines are available, the NHS is able to open more vaccination services in Lancashire and South Cumbria, including large vaccination centres and, in the near future, pharmacies. Blackburn Cathedral is one of a number of larger sites opening across Lancashire and South Cumbria in the coming weeks to offer a convenient alternative to GP and hospital services, which can deliver thousands of vaccinations every week.

The NHS is rolling out additional services quickly, but it remains important that the public don’t try to book or go to these services before they receive their booking letter.

People who book into the vaccination centre will be greeted by volunteers, who will marshal car parks and register them when they arrive. Bookings are staggered to allow social distancing. People will receive a health status check and a pre-vaccination assessment before they have their jab and the whole service will be led and overseen by trained nurses.

People driving into Blackburn to get their coronavirus vaccination at Blackburn Cathedral will be able to park for free in Council-owned car parks at Weir Street and Penny Street, Blackburn with Darwen Council has announced. Marshalls in operation on the sites will check if anyone parking there is going for a vaccination and ensure no tickets are handed out.

Jane Scattergood, director of quality and nursing for the Fylde Coast CCGs and COVID-19 vaccination director for Lancashire and South Cumbria Integrated Care System, said: “As the expansion of the COVID-19 vaccination programme continues to gather pace, we are delighted that Blackburn Cathedral will be used as a large vaccination centre. GPs, nurses, pharmacists, countless other staff, and volunteers have worked incredibly hard behind the scenes to get the site ready as part of the roll-out of COVID-19 vaccinations. We are planning for more vaccination centres to go live in Lancashire and South Cumbria over the coming weeks. We are asking the public to support the NHS by not contacting your GP about your vaccination, we will invite you when it is your time.”

“The rollout of the vaccine and establishing these sites involves a wide range of organisations working together. We need to thank the significant support to the NHS to deliver the Covid-19 vaccination programme from our wider partners including Lancashire County Council, Cumbria County Council, Blackburn with Darwen Borough Council, Blackpool Council, our district councils, the military, police, local businesses and many more.”

Nationally more than 80,000 people have trained to deliver the vaccines and will be deployed as supplies allow the programme to expand. They include current and former NHS staff, clinicians from the independent sector and allied health professionals like physios, among others.

Kevin McGee, chief executive of Blackpool Teaching Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust and East Lancashire Hospitals NHS Trust , which is leading the recruitment of staff for the vaccination programme throughout Lancashire and South Cumbria, said: “We are grateful for the co-operation of everyone at Blackburn Cathedral in making the Crypt available to use as the area’s first large vaccination centre and I would personally like to thank the whole team, including staff from East Lancashire Teaching Hospitals, 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 is having in our community.”

Invitations to attend the new centre are being issued to people aged 80 or over who are not listed as having been vaccinated at a hospital or GP service. If they have received a jab since the letter was sent out or would prefer to wait to be invited to attend a hospital or GP service, they can simply ignore it. Those like care home residents who are unable to travel to vaccine centres, hospitals or GP-led sites are already receiving the vaccine at home.

Please don’t delay having your vaccine, but if you can’t travel to a vaccination centre or you would rather wait for an appointment closer to home, you can choose to do that, and your local GP-led service will be in touch soon to offer an alternative.

If you receive a letter from the national NHS COVID-19 Vaccination Booking Service and you book an appointment, please make sure you attend it. The sooner you get your vaccination, when eligible, the earlier you will be protected from COVID-19.

As with other vaccination services people should wait to be invited by the NHS. It will not be possible to use the NHS COVID-19 Vaccination Booking Service if you have not received an invitation letter. It will also not be possible to get a vaccine at a vaccination centre or community pharmacy without an appointment. Doing so risks disrupting the work of NHS staff in protecting those at highest risk.

In Lancashire and South Cumbria, additional vaccination centres will go live over the coming weeks in Central Lancashire, Fylde Coast, Morecambe Bay and Pennine Lancashire. As soon as these are ready and available they will appear on the national NHS COVID-19 Vaccination Booking Service.

For more information about the COVID-19 vaccination programme on the Fylde Coast visit our vaccination programme pages COVID-19 vaccination programme.