Preston's mass vaccination centre 'to be based in former B&M store'

Preston’s planned mass Covid vaccination centre is set to be based in a former discount store in the city, the Lancashire Post understands.

Wednesday, 27th January 2021, 9:33 pm
Updated Wednesday, 27th January 2021, 9:54 pm

A source has told the Post that the facility will be housed in the unit that previously operated as B&M Bargains in St. John’s Shopping Centre.

The NHS has not confirmed the location - nor the opening date - but a generic NHS sign has now gone up over the retail outlet, close to the Tithebarn Street entrance to the precinct.

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The former B&M Bargains store in St. John's Shopping Centre, Preston (image courtesy of Tony Worrell)

The Post revealed last week that a new mass vaccination centre would be opening in the city, along with one in Burnley.

Three other such facilities are already operational in Lancashire - in Blackpool, Blackburn and Lancaster.

Vaccines will still be delivered from existing GP and hospital hubs and community pharmacies across Central Lancashire once the large-scale venue in Preston opens.

The Tithebarn Street entrance to St. John's Shopping Centre, pictured before B&M Bargains closed in January 2020

When it does, appointments will be via invite only and people should not just turn up at the centre.

Lancashire and South Cumbria’s integrated care system (ICS) was approached for comment. While it did not confirm that the former store would be the base for Preston’s mass vaccination site, Jane Scattergood, its Covid-19 vaccination director, said:

“As the expansion of the Covid vaccination programme continues to gather pace, we are planning to open a large-scale site in Preston in the coming weeks. GPs, nurses, pharmacists, other staff, and volunteers are working hard behind the scenes to get the site ready. As with other vaccination services, people should wait to be invited by the NHS.

“The rollout of the vaccine and establishing these sites involves a wide range of organisations working together. We need to thank the significant support to the NHS to deliver the Covid vaccination programme from our wider partners including Cumbria County Council, Lancashire County Council, Blackburn with Darwen Borough Council, Blackpool Council, our district councils, the military, police, local businesses and many more.”

Concern was raised in Lancashire on Wednesday about reports that the North West would see its current volume of vaccine supply cut by around a third early next month in order to target doses at areas with a greater proportion of people left to vaccinate in the first four priority groups before the government’s 15th February deadline.