A seventh large vaccination centre for the region will open at Hexham Mart, Northumberland on Thursday 13th May 2021.
Take-up of the Covid-19 vaccine has been exceptionally strong; 19 out of 20 people aged 50 and over have already chosen to take up the offer, and the number of people from ethnic minority backgrounds coming forward has more than tripled over the last two months.
Now the programme has moved to cohort 10, the NHS is asking those aged 40 and over to come forward for their vaccine.
The seventh large vaccination centre for the region in Hexham joins the six large vaccination centres which are at Newcastle’s Centre for Life, the NHS Nightingale Hospital North East, Sunderland, the Arnison Centre, Durham, Darlington Arena, The Riverside Stadium at Middlesbrough and the Auction Mart at Penrith.
These large centres operate in conjunction with local vaccination services run by groups of GPs working together in Primary Care Networks and services offered by some community pharmacies.
The Hexham vaccination centre will be called ‘Hexham Mart Vaccination Centre’ and is based at Hexham Mart, Tyne Green, Hexham, Northumberland, NE46 3SG.
People are invited to attend large vaccination centres and community pharmacy locations by the National Booking Service which is run by NHS England. Patients are being asked not to contact their GP.
The staffing and volunteers for the centre are in place ready to see up to 800 people a day, vaccine supply permitting.
The decision to open a new large vaccination centre in Hexham was made in conjunction with local NHS partners so that the West Northumberland Primary Care Network (PCN), who have delivered over 60,000 vaccinations so far, could return to providing core GP services for local patients including those whose needs may not have been met so far during the pandemic.
West Northumberland PCN will continue to deliver vaccinations for their most vulnerable patients in JCVI priority groups 1-9, including over 27,000 second doses still to be administered to those patients.
The Hexham Mart Vaccination Centre will provide a local option for residents of West Northumberland eligible for a first dose (those aged 18-49 years) alongside a number of community pharmacy sites which will be available to book via the National Booking Service.
Eligible people receive a letter or text message and are invited to book either online or by calling 119 free of charge between 7am and 11pm – only people invited to book can do so.
There are currently five community pharmacy sites across Northumberland with more sites being added to the National Booking Service across the region so people in Northumberland can access different locations.
The National Booking Service will now show appointments for Hexham Mart and community pharmacies, but not for appointments that are offered by existing vaccination services run by GPs in primary care networks.
NHS Northumberland CCG has also commissioned a Roving Vaccination Service which will continue to target patients across the county’s most rural and isolated communities. This range of services will help to ensure that anybody who wants to receive a vaccine can do so and that nobody is left behind by the programme.
While vaccine supply can be ‘bumpy’, people should not be worried. There is enough vaccine supply to make sure that everyone who wants to have a vaccination can do so.
Professor Neil Watson, Chief Operating Officer for the NHS Covid Vaccination Programme for the North East and North Cumbria, said: “The NHS continues to deliver with over 2.2 million vaccines having been given in our region alone, which is a phenomenal amount and something to be very proud of.”
“I’d like to thank our fantastic teams who remain focussed on delivering excellent care and our patients who keep coming forward in large numbers to make sure they are vaccinated and protected from this awful virus.
“This seventh large vaccination centre for the region allows us to carry on this great work with the over 40-year-old age group, so we can get back to a sense of normality as quickly as we can.”
Rachel Mitcheson, Service Director Transformation and Integrated Care, NHS Northumberland Clinical Commissioning Group said: “West Northumberland Primary Care Network have done a phenomenal job and we thank everyone who has been involved in this exceptional effort.”
“It’s right that primary care in the west of the county focus on recovery of local primary care health services impacted as a result of the pandemic, including continuing to deliver second doses to priority groups 1-9.”