Mass vaccine centre opening marks 'big step forward' in beating COVID-19

Robertson House in Stevenage, Herts, where one of seven mass vaccination centres will open next week

Robertson House in Stevenage, Herts, where one of seven mass vaccination centres will open next week as the government continues to ramp up the vaccination programme against Covid-19. - Credit: PA

The long-awaited COVID-19 mass vaccination centre opened its doors in Stevenage this morning. 

Robertson House conferencing centre - in Six Hills Way, off Gunnels Wood Road - is one of seven new centres to be rolled out across England today.

Hertfordshire residents aged 80 and over are among those being invited to book a coronavirus vaccination, as well as those from as far as a 45-minute drive away.

Nurses, doctors, physios and other NHS staff working nearby will also be able to receive their vaccination at Robertson House, along with social care and care home workers.

It is being run by Community NHS Trust (HCT), which has set up the centre with the support of Herts County Council, Stevenage Borough Council, Hertfordshire Fire and Rescue and other local organisations.

HCT’s director of nursing and quality, Sarah Browne, said: “Everyone at HCT and our partners has been working very hard in the lead up to opening the region’s first vaccination centre today.

"We can now welcome people in the prioritised age groups with confirmed appointments to receive their vaccine, along with health and social care workers from across our area.

Signs outside the the NHS coronavirus vaccine centre that has been set up at Robertson House in Stev

The centre is one of the seven mass vaccination centres now opened to the general public as the government continues to ramp up the vaccination programme against COVID-19. - Credit: PA

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"This represents a big step forward in helping to beat the COVID-19 pandemic. My sincere thanks go to our project team and our school age immunisation team who have worked around the clock to deliver this programme.”

Stevenage Borough Council leader Sharon Taylor added: "We are all delighted that the mass vaccination site at Robertson House will open so Stevenage is playing it’s part in ramping up the vaccination programme.

"We also have a major testing site opening on Primett Road car park in Old Stevenage, due to open fully from Monday, January 18.

People wait to receive their Covid-19 vaccine at the NHS vaccine centre that has been set up at Robe

People wait to receive their Covid-19 vaccine at the NHS vaccine centre that has been set up at Robertson House in Stevenage. - Credit: PA

"Vaccination and testing are the two things which are vital to ensure we start to suppress the spread of this terrible virus.

"For now though it’s important that we all stick to the spirit of the restrictions as well as the letter of them. We must protect the NHS to give them time to get the vaccination programme under way.

People wait to receive their Covid-19 vaccine at the NHS vaccine centre that has been set up at Robe

People wait to receive their Covid-19 vaccine at the NHS vaccine centre that has been set up at Robertson House in Stevenage. - Credit: PA

"Fantastic to have some much needed light at the end of the tunnel, thank goodness for our brilliant scientists and dedicated NHS teams."

Stevenage MP Stephen McPartland also took to Twitter and said: "Brilliant news the Lister Hospital has vaccinated nearly 6,000 already.

"Two GP surgeries are operational and we have one of the national hubs too. It will be working from Monday with capacity for over 2,000 vaccinations a day. Very proud Stevenage is leading the way on vaccinations."

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