Blackburn Cathedral confirmed as Lancashire's first mass vaccination hub
Blackburn Cathedral will open its doors to become Lancashire's first mass vaccination centre, it has been confirmed.
NHS and Church of England bosses expect that it will open on Monday, January 18, but this depends on whether a suitable supply of the vaccine can be acquired.
Local health care provider, Healthier Lancashire and South Cumbria, will transform the Undercroft and Crypt area of the city centre landmark into a vaccination centre for the next 12 months.
Church officials said the space has the capacity to provide vaccinations to 1,700 people each week, with vaccinations offered 12 hours a day, seven days a week.
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Blackburn with Darwen currently has the third highest infection rate in Lancashire, with a rate of 618.1 (per 100,000) according to the latest update from Public Health England.
The Dean of Blackburn, the Very Revd Peter Howell Jones said: "At the heart of the Christian faith is love and hospitality, and a God that cares for all people.
"It is only right we offer our building as a safe and accessible space for this exciting inoculation plan and be prepared to serve the nation in these times of deep uncertainty and fear."
Professor Dominic Harrison, Blackburn with Darwen Council’s public health director, shared his 'delight' at the news and said the vaccination programme marks the ‘beginning of the end’ of the pandemic.
He said: "I am delighted that the roll-out of the first mass vaccination site in Lancashire will be in Blackburn Cathedral.
"This will make a big difference to accelerating the vaccination rates. I urge everyone who is invited to take up their appointments.
"Although we are going to have a very big challenge over the next two months the vaccination programme is truly the ‘beginning of the end’ of the pandemic."
Jane Scattergood, Covid-19 vaccination director for Lancashire, says the county's vaccine roll-out continues to "gather pace" and welcomed the use of the cathedral as the county's first mass vaccination hub.
She said: "As the expansion of the Covid Vaccination programme continues to gather pace, we are delighted that Blackburn Cathedral will be used as a larger scale vaccination centre.
"GPs, nurses, pharmacists, countless other staff and volunteers are working hard behind the scenes to get the site ready for the go live date later this month as part of the roll out of the new Oxford AstraZeneca vaccine.
"We are asking the public to support the NHS by not contacting your GP about your vaccination, we will invite you when it is your time."
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