Shot in the arm: New Shropshire vaccine hubs a 'step forward' to beating virus

Health bosses insist the opening of more vaccine hubs is significant step forward to beating Covid-19 as Shropshire plays catch-up in the jab roll out.

Malcolm Bunn was the first to get a jab a Ludlow Racecourse
Malcolm Bunn was the first to get a jab a Ludlow Racecourse

There have been widespread concerns across the county after it was revealed to be one of the slowest areas in the country to get jabs into arms during January.

But with hubs now open at Ludlow Racecourse and AFC Telford's New Bucks Head stadium, chiefs are optimistic that the roll out will gather pace.

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Speaking at the launch of the Ludlow hub, David Evans, accountable officer for the Shropshire, Telford & Wrekin CCGs said: “It’s a fantastic day for south Shropshire. There has been a lot of concern over whether the vaccination programme was being rolled out quickly enough. Our figures have increased significantly over the last couple of weeks and having hubs like this one opening will help that in the coming weeks.

“This has been a real team effort. We wouldn’t have been able to do this without the help of our partners and volunteers. I’ve got to say a huge thank you.

“It is our aim locally to get all of the over 70s and clinically vulnerable vaccinated by February 15, and I am confident we will do that.”

The vaccine hub at Ludlow Racecourse

Arne Rose, executive medical director for SaTH, added: “It has been a really momentous team effort at short notice. It’s another step forward to beating this virus.

“This hub is similar in size to the one at the hospital in Shrewsbury. We can vaccinate about 500 people a day here.

“I’d like to say a big thank you to the community for getting behind us and supporting this. It will help us speed up the vaccination process over the next few weeks.”

At the racecourse, military personnel administered Oxford/Astra Zeneca jabs to hundreds of patients at Ludlow Racecourse, assisted by NHS staff and willing volunteers.

Tribute

First recipient of the day Malcolm Bunn, 72, paid tribute to front line workers and added that he is “looking forward to getting back to normal”.

After the opening of the hub at the New Bucks Head, Telford & Wrekin Council leader Shaun Davies said: “It’s fantastic to see such progress being made and another vaccine service going live.

“This is in addition to other vaccine sites already operating across the borough, including Telford International Centre - Shropshire’s largest vaccination centre.

“As a local authority, we will continue to do everything possible to ensure everyone eligible for a vaccine, in line with the national priority groups, can get appointments close to home. There are still challenges on this - I am being contacted by Telford and Wrekin residents who are still offered the vaccine at centres as far as way as Manchester.

“The message for our residents is very clear, a local vaccine centre is available - you should either continue to seek a local site on the website included in the NHS letter received or over the phone or wait to be contacted by 119. There is no need to travel outside of the borough unless you want to.”

The hubs are offering vaccines by appointment and further vaccination services will go live over the coming weeks. As soon as these are ready and available, they will appear on the national NHS Covid-19 Vaccination Booking Service.

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