This afternoon, I visited the Vaccination Centre at Derby Arena to be updated by members of their absolutely amazing team on how the vaccination process is going, see the layout of the centre and how it's being run and to find out if there were any concerns about any aspects of the site.
The Covid-19 vaccination rollout is the largest in our country's history, and is being led by our fantastic NHS staff and volunteers.
Priority is being given to the first four groups, these being 1. Elderly residents in Care Homes and their Carers; 2. Those over 80 years of age and frontline health and social care workers; 3. All those 75 years of age and over; 4. All those 70 years of age or older and clinically extremely vulnerable individuals.
While at the centre, I had a very informative socially-distanced conversation with the fantastic Drew Smith, who has been leading the way throughout this project, where we discussed optimisation of the vaccine process, provision and storage of the vaccine at the centre, how they are ensuring patients, staff and volunteers stay safe while at the Centre and any issues they have found where I could be of help.
The site is fantastically laid out, with sanitising stations readily available at entrances, exits and through out; social distancing is maintained at all times and the appropriate PPE is available. any transport concerns have thankfully not become a reality, and parking is readily available.
The Arena is currently providing the Pfizer and Oxford/Astra Zeneca vaccines, while earlier this week the Moderna Vaccine became the third Covid-19 vaccine approved for use in the UK. 17m doses have been ordered, and should become available in the Spring.
Sadly, there are concerns around scam phone calls, often targeted at elderly and vulnerable individuals, asking them to hand over substantial amounts of money in order to receive the vaccine. It is so upsetting to think that anyone would make such a call.
The Covid-19 vaccine is available FREE OF CHARGE - no bank transfer, payment or anything of the sort is required. If you receive such a phone call, please report it to the appropriate authorities, and never hand over money or bank details.
I want to say a huge and humble thank you to everyone working and volunteering at the site from those administering the vaccine to those making phone calls to eligible residents and those keeping the site safe. They are true true heroes who are, quite literally, saving lives.
Please remember that you will be contacted by your GP, by letter or by phone, when you are to receive the vaccine. You do not need to contact them, or anyone else until then.