Shropshire sports grounds open as coronavirus vaccination centres

Two sports grounds were opening their doors as coronavirus vaccination centres today, allowing thousands more each week to receive the life-saving jab.

The vaccination centre at AFC Telford United. Photo: Telford & Wrekin Council.
The vaccination centre at AFC Telford United. Photo: Telford & Wrekin Council.

Vaccinations were beginning today at Ludlow Racecourse and AFC Telford United's ground at New Bucks Head, while Shrewsbury's mass vaccination centre is expected to open at the town's indoor bowls centre on Sundorne Road later this week.

The new sites add to the hubs already up and running at the county's hospitals, GP-led community clinics, pharmacies and Telford's International Centre.

It comes as a record number of coronavirus vaccines were administered in the UK on Saturday, with more than half a million people receiving their first dose in one day.

Dean Carroll, Shropshire Council’s cabinet member for adult social care, public health and climate change, says the local services have already vaccinated many thousands of the people and the new hub at Ludlow Racecourse will mean thousands more can get jabbed each week, as supply increases.

Ludlow Racecourse is opening as a vaccination centre

“Readying the centre for its launch has required a monumental effort, with all of our NHS services working closely together with the council on all the necessary planning and preparation," he said.

"We’d like to say a huge thank you to everyone involved – in particular the staff and volunteers who will be running the service – and we very much look forward to welcoming the first patients to their booked appointments.”

Ludlow MP Philip Dunne said Shropshire had been 'behind the curve' when it came to vaccinations but was now catching up.

He said: "Today we can celebrate opening a vaccination hub in the south of the county at Ludlow Racecourse which will help significantly.

"We are vaccinating the most vulnerable groups thanks to the enormous efforts of NHS staff and volunteers.

"It's really speeding up. The sense of relief on the faces of those receiving the vaccine is powerful."

Ludlow Racecourse is opening as a vaccination centre

He said Ludlow Community Hospital had also operated as a vaccination hub on Saturday.

Meanwhile, AFC Telford United is working with Wellington Pharmacy to use the football club as a vaccination centre from today.

Operations manager Luke Shelley said it would be based in the dugout bar at the main west stand.

He said: "They were looking for a bigger outlet that could be open seven days a week eventually.

"They could be there six to nine months, or even longer.

"It's a proud achievement. We feel we have been able to support the community by providing this vaccination centre that will hopefully help to get people back to normality."

Nobody needs to contact the NHS, as people will be invited to an appointment when it is their turn.

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