Thousands within 45-minute drive invited for vaccines at Blackburn Cathedral
Thousands of people within a 45-minute drive of Blackburn will be invited to book a coronavirus vaccine at the town's cathedral.
Those aged 80 and over are being invited to book a jab at Lancashire's first mass vaccination centre at Blackburn Cathedral, which is expected to open its doors on Monday (January 18).
People who are eligible and live within 45 minutes’ drive from the new vaccination site who haven’t already been vaccinated by their local GP or hospital hub, will receive letters from the NHS Covid-19 Vaccination Booking Service, telling them how they can book their appointment.
As we reported earlier this week, Blackburn Cathedral is one of a number of larger sites set to open across Lancashire in the coming weeks to offer a convenient alternative to GP and hospital services.
It is expected to deliver thousands of vaccinations every week from its Crypt, with jabs offered 12 hours a day, seven days a week.
Now that more doses of Covid-19 vaccines are available, the NHS said it is able to open more vaccination services in Lancashire, including large vaccination centres and, in the near future, pharmacies.
People who book into the vaccination centre will be greeted by volunteers who will marshal car parks and register patients when they arrive.
Bookings will be staggered to allow social distancing and people will receive a health status check and a pre-vaccination assessment before they have their jab, with the whole service led by trained nurses.
Blackburn with Darwen Council has confirmed that those driving to the cathedral to get their vaccination will be able to park for free in Council-owned car parks at Weir Street and Penny Street.
Marshalls in operation on the sites will check if anyone parking there is going for a vaccination and ensure no tickets are handed out.
The NHS is reminding the public that they shouldn't try to book or go to these services before they receive their booking letter.
Professor Dominic Harrison, director of public health for Blackburn with Darwen, shared his 'delight' at the news and said the vaccination programme marks the ‘beginning of the end’ of the pandemic.
He said: "Vaccinating the most vulnerable people in our communities, those most likely to be hospitalised, will make a very big difference to how quickly we can exit the most severe control measures we have had to put in place to save lives.
"I urge everyone invited to attend for vaccination to take up their appointments – we cannot afford to miss even one opportunity.
"Although we are going to have a very big challenge over the next two months, we should remember - it is always darkest just before the dawn and the vaccination programme is truly the ‘beginning of the end’ of the pandemic."
More vaccination centres will begin opening across Lancashire over the coming weeks, with new sites planned for Central Lancashire, the Fylde Coast, Morecambe Bay and the Lancashire Pennines.
How do I get the vaccine at Blackburn Cathedral?
Invitations to attend the new vaccination centre at Blackburn Cathedral are being issued to people aged 80 or over who are not listed as having been vaccinated at a hospital or GP service.
As with other vaccination services people should wait to be invited by the NHS. It will not be possible to use the NHS Covid-19 Vaccination Booking Service if you have not received an invitation letter.
It is also not be possible to get a vaccine at a vaccination centre or community pharmacy without an appointment. Doing so risks disrupting the work of NHS staff in protecting those at highest risk.
If you or your family members have already received a jab since the letter was sent out or would prefer to wait to be invited to attend a local hospital or GP service, you can simply ignore the invitation to attend Blackburn Cathedral.
If you receive a letter from the national NHS Covid-19 Vaccination Booking Service and you book an appointment, please make sure you attend it. The sooner you get your vaccination, when eligible, the earlier you will be protected from Covid-19.
You can visit the NHS site for more information about the Covid-19 vaccination programme in Lancashire.