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30 Jul 2018, 11:16
Two new pharmacy-run vaccination centres opened today (Thursday 4 February) in Watford and Stevenage, adding to the growing choice of locations where eligible people can receive the COVID-19 vaccine.
The new Watford vaccination centre is situated in the Asda supermarket, and is being run by the store’s in-house superintendent pharmacist, Faisal Tuddy. It was visited today by Sir Keir Starmer MP, Leader of the Opposition, who chatted to members of the public as they got their vaccinations.
The Stevenage centre opened in the Chells Manor Community Centre on Emperors Gate and is being run by superintendent pharmacist Abdul Sharief, from the national pharmacy group, Allied Pharmacies.
Both centres have the capacity to deliver more than 1,000 Oxford Astra-Zeneca vaccines per week – and more if supply allows – to people in nationally agreed priority groups. Eligible people will receive a national NHS letter inviting them to book a vaccination appointment and they can choose from one of the new sites if they wish to. No-one will be able to be vaccinated unless they have a pre-booked appointment.
Health bosses in Hertfordshire and west Essex are advising people of their options. Dr Jane Halpin, the Chief Executive of our area’s three Clinical Commissioning Groups said:
“We now have five community pharmacies vaccinating people in our area, as well as dozens of GP-led vaccination centres serving their patients and a number of larger vaccination sites such as those recently opened in Bishop’s Stortford and Welwyn Garden City. Our hospital and community trusts have been protecting staff and the public across Hertfordshire and west Essex through vaccination programmes too.
“We are in a strong position to protect even more people quickly, including those front-line social care and health staff who are supporting the most vulnerable in our communities every day.
“If you would prefer your own GP surgery to arrange a vaccination appointment for you, you don’t need to take any action, just wait to be contacted by your practice when it’s your turn. This applies to housebound people and those who are classed as ‘clinically extremely vulnerable’ too. Your GP is aware of your medical needs and you will be prioritised for protection.”
Faisal Tuddy, Watford Asda’s superintendent pharmacist, said: “Many of the people we vaccinate have been shielding at home for months and we hope receiving the vaccine is the first step towards a return to normality for them. It is also a proud moment for our pharmacy colleagues in Watford, many of who live locally, and are keen to play their part in supporting the local vaccination programme.”
Myra from Leavesden was one of the first people to be vaccinated at the Asda supermarket in Watford this morning. She said: “I got my NHS letter on Monday and when I went online Asda came up, which is really convenient for me. It’s amazing and great to be here on the first day it opens. It is so well organised and everyone’s great. Now that I have had my vaccination I feel like it is the beginning of the end of all this. I am dying to see my grandkids.”
Mr and Mrs Balachandran from Watford said: “We feel so happy now we have had our vaccinations. It’s a very good thing.”
In Stevenage, superintendent pharmacist Abdul Sharief said: “We are pleased with how well things are going. We’ve had a mixture of local people attend and those who have driven from 20-30 miles away to get their injections. People seem to be really happy coming in and even happier going out after their vaccinations.”
Please arrive at the time specified for your vaccination appointment – there is no need to arrive early. It’s advisable to wrap up warm and bring something to read to pass the time in case you need to be monitored after your vaccination.
Like everyone else, people who have received their first or second vaccination must continue to slow the spread of the virus by: