New Preston Covid vaccination site to open this week

Preston’s mass Covid vaccination centre will be open before the week is out, it has been confirmed.

Tuesday, 16th February 2021, 4:34 pm
Updated Tuesday, 16th February 2021, 5:09 pm

The first vaccines will be given on Thursday afternoon (18th February) at the site of the former B&M Bargains store in St. John’s Shopping Centre on Tithebarn Street, a location first revealed by the Post last month.

Jabs are by appointment and residents are able to book a slot only once they have received a letter from the NHS inviting them to do so. They are being asked not to attempt to book before that letter arrives - nor to turn up at the site without an appointment.

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Preston's new mass vaccination centre has been under construction for weeks (image: Tony Worrall)

As Lancashire moves into the next phase of the vaccination programme, people aged over 65 and those considered clinically vulnerable because of certain underlying health conditions will be the first cohorts to be offered timeslots at the new high-volume venue.

Local GP and hospital hubs, along with community pharmacies, will continue to offer vaccines when the new site opens - and anybody who would prefer to wait for one of those locations, perhaps closer to their home, is free to do so. They can ignore the invite to the city centre facility and will be contacted separately by the GP-led hub for their area.

The Post understands that a marquee which has been erected at the bus station opposite the new vaccination centre will provide heated shelter as part of a queuing system. However, people are being urged to arrive on time for their appointments - and not early - so as to avoid queues forming in the first place.

The NHS in the region apologised earlier this month after it was reported that dozens of people were left waiting outside in the cold at the mass vaccination centre at Blackburn Cathedral, after many arrived as much as two hours before their appointments.

A marquee has been set up for people to wait for their jabs - but they are being asked not to arrive early for their appointments

Speaking about the opening of the new Preston centre, Jane Scattergood, vaccination director for the Lancashire and South Cumbria integrated care system, said:

“A great deal of hard work goes into setting up these sites, particularly when they are not in health settings.

“It is about delivering the vaccination programme locally where people will be able to access services the most.

“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.”

There is plenty of space for social distancing in the waiting area