Vaccine arrives at Leighton Buzzard Rugby Club with first jabs given to the over 80s from lunchtime today

Leighton Buzzard's Covid-19 vaccination centre at the town's rugby club has this morning taken delivery of its first batch of vaccine, with it due to be administered from around lunchtime today.

Thursday, 14th January 2021, 10:23 am
Updated Thursday, 14th January 2021, 10:26 am

Both Pfizer and AstraZeneca vaccines were delivered at around 9am, with final touches now being made to the rugby club site before the over 80s can receive the jab from this afternoon.

The Pfizer vaccine will be used first due to its short shelf life of around 90 hours, while the AstraZeneca vaccine can be stored for about three months.

The Leighton Buzzard Primary Care Network (PCN) says that the Stanbridge Road facility will offer a jointly run service by all three general practices in the town - Bassett Road Surgery, Leighton Road Surgery and Salisbury House Surgery - who have been busy contacting patients about attending the club. The rugby club's first week of bookings is nearly full due to the strong take-up.

Supplies of the vaccine have now arrived. PHOTO: LB PCN

People aged over 80 years old and those in nursing homes have been identified as the first group of patients for vaccination.

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.

It will be receiving supplies of the vaccine once a week and it is anticipated that it will take around two weeks to complete the over 80s cohort, before moving onto other priority groups.

The PCN has admitted that a letter from NHS England this week had caused some anxiety for local residents who had been invited to attend mass vaccination centres in Stevenage or Birmingham in an effort to ramp up the numbers receiving the jab.

The vaccination centre. PHOTO: LB PCN

They say residents can do so if they wish, but they will still be imminently contacted by phone by their surgery about using the rugby club, and can cancel any arrangements they may have set up for further afield.

The Leighton Buzzard 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.

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.

The vaccination centre. PHOTO: LB PCN

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.

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

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.

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