Confirmed: Mass vaccination centre for Leighton Buzzard will open at rugby club in the coming week

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Leighton Buzzard's Covid-19 mass vaccination centre will open this coming week at the town's rugby club, it has now been confirmed.

The Leighton Buzzard Primary Care Network (PCN) says that the rugby club site on Stanbridge Road will offer a jointly run service by all three general practices in the town - Bassett Road Surgery, Leighton Road Surgery and Salisbury House Surgery.

The LBO has been told by the PCN that it is awaiting a confirmed delivery date for the vaccine and that there is still setting-up work to do at the club. It has been told to expect both Pfizer and AstraZeneca vaccines this week.

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The centre will be for patients registered with a GP practice in Leighton Buzzard. People aged over 80 years old and those in nursing homes have been identified as the first group of patients for vaccination. The current national guidance is to offer vaccination to all those aged 50 years and over as well as those people who have medical conditions that make them at special risk of infection.

The vaccination centre is set to openThe vaccination centre is set to open
The vaccination centre is set to open

The centre will run from 8am to 8pm for up to seven days per week on an ongoing basis until all target groups have been vaccinated. The aim is to get 1,000 vaccinations achieved in the first week of operation.

The service is being supported by a team of volunteer workers from a number of different groups and the PCN has been working closely with the Bedfordshire Clinical Commissioning Group, Leighton-Linslade Town Council, Bedfordshire Local Emergency Volunteers Executive Committee (BLEVEC), Arriva Buses, Buzzer Buses and the Leighton Buzzard Voluntary Patient Transport (LBVPT).

Arriva Buses will ensure that the No.32 bus will drop and collect passengers from the front entrance of the rugby club, as will Buzzer Buses and the LBVPT.

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There will be a separate car parking facility for staff, volunteers and drivers who are dropping off patients and waiting for them after their vaccination.

A large, heated marquee will be on site to keep patients safe and warm whilst they either wait to be seen inside the building or are waiting for their transport after their vaccination.

The CCG and BLEVEC will provide car marshals who will be on hand to guide drivers on their arrival and to assist patients.

Staff and volunteers will be inside the building to look after patients during their vaccination experience.

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A call for volunteers went out last Thursday and while the PCN now has enough non-clinical helpers, it still needs nurse and GP volunteers. Email [email protected] if you can assist.

Dr John Henderson, director of the Leighton Buzzard Primary Care Network, said: “I am so excited about the opening of our local COVID vaccination centre. It gives us a golden opportunity to finally defeat this terrible virus.

“The opening of the centre was only possible because of the fantastic help and support of so many different people, organisations and voluntary groups. I am particularly grateful to Leighton Buzzard Rugby Club who has made the venue available to us and has been a marvellous support throughout the project. I and my fellow vaccinators can’t wait to start so that we can get our local population immunised as soon as possible.”

The PCN says the local Covid vaccination programme is dependent upon delivery of the vaccine. All patients will be contacted by their practice to arrange an appointment. These will be arranged in the government’s published priority order. Please do not contact your practice or the rugby club to arrange an appointment.

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To ensure the smooth running of the service residents are asked to arrive promptly and allow 30 minutes for their appointment; If possible arrange your own private transport or ask family or friends to help if possible; as deliveries of the vaccine are strictly limited the vaccination centre is only able to offer the vaccine to those people who have been given an appointment by their surgeries; please do not attend the centre if you do not have an appointment.

The PCN added: “The PCN and practice teams look forward to starting this much-needed and important to protect us all from this virus.”