Covid-19 vaccination centres opening in Dacorum and Hertsmere
5 Jan 2021, 19:00
22 July 2021
The Batchwood Hall vaccination centre will close as planned on 31 July, after delivering over 75,000 doses of Covid vaccine since it opened in December 2020.
The St Albans Vaccination Service (STAVACS) team converted an unused nightclub into a fully functioning vaccination centre in under a month, with a remit to provide vaccinations until the end of July. At the peak, staff at the site were able to vaccinate over 2000 patients daily with the AstraZeneca vaccine and over 1600 patients daily with the Pfizer vaccine.
A team of GPs supported by NHS staff and volunteers from practices across the City and District of St Albans, and the St Albans and Harpenden GP Federation (STAHFED) worked together to support the national Covid-19 vaccination programme. Overall the clinic has given 44,445 first doses and 31,820 second doses both at the Batchwood Hall site and also taking the vaccine out to people in care homes and other locations. The team have vaccinated 43 people over the age of 100. The oldest person vaccinated was 105 at time of vaccination and six people aged 103 attended the vaccination centre in person.
Thanks to the efforts of staff and volunteers at Batchwood and other vaccination clinics, over 81% of people in West Hertfordshire (417,000) have had their first dose of the Covid vaccine, and 65% (320,000) have had both. It is important that as many people as possible get both doses as soon as these are offered to them, and even after Batchwood gives its final injection there are plenty of alternatives for people in the area, with clinics in St Albans including a mobile unit in the St Albans Market Place and the iMED pharmacy in Charrington Place. Please see https://covid.healthierfuture.org.uk/ for the latest information on vaccination clinics in the area.
Staff and volunteers at the site created drive-through clinics for clinically extremely vulnerable patients and ran clinics for patients with learning disabilities, achieving Purple Star Award status for health equality. They also ran outreach vaccination programmes within the traveller community, homeless shelters, women’s refuges as well as the Islamic Centre in London Colney and sporting events. Care homes and patients who are housebound were amongst the earliest groups to receive their first vaccine. This included 250 residents of care homes who were vaccinated on New Year’s Eve.
For many who attended clinics at Batchwood Hall, it was a nostalgic experience. One couple came on their wedding anniversary of marrying at Batchwood Hall; others remembered afternoon teas and more recently dancing and shots of a different kind. There cannot be many people who have had their Covid vaccine underneath a huge chandelier!
The whole vaccination process would not have been possible without the hard work of volunteers from Communities 1st and St John’s Ambulance. This has been a true team effort, with hard work from the nine GP practices, the management team at STAHFED, the Clinical Directors, the Project Support Officers, the Care Coordinators and the local CCG. Many of the vaccinators volunteered in their own time, returned from retirement or increased their part-time hours to ensure that the vaccination programme could be delivered as quickly as possible.
The Batchwood vaccination team is also very grateful to the many people and organisations who supported the setting up of the site, and its ongoing operation, including St Albans District Council, Hertfordshire County Council and Daisy Cooper MP. Local businesses also provided practical support including laptops, security, electrics and food for volunteers and staff.
Batchwood’s first clinic date was on December 15th, 2020 and the last clinic date is currently on Thursday 29th July 2021. Depending on vaccine supply, a clinic may run on Friday 30th July.
After the Batchwood centre closes, anyone aged 18 or above can either book through the National Booking System, or go to one of the walk-in vaccination clinics happening across Hertfordshire. Details of how to book and the walk-in clinics are available from the Healthier Future NHS site https://covid.healthierfuture.org.uk/ For walk-in clinics, you do not need to be registered with a GP.
If you do not have access to the internet, then you can dial 119. Second doses can be given 8 weeks after the first dose and it is very important to have both vaccines to provide the best possible protection against Covid-19.