Everything you need to know about the St Albans district vaccine programme

The Alban Arena began welcoming residents of St Albans district for their COVID vaccinations yesterday (Monday, March 15)

The Alban Arena began welcoming residents of St Albans district for their COVID vaccinations yesterday (Monday, March 15) - Credit: Hertfordshire Community NHS Trust

Worried about your coronavirus vaccine? Not sure when to expect your appointment? Wondering where you will end up going? We have the answers...

St Albans residents can now be vaccinated at three venues across the city. 

From yesterday, the Alban Arena has added to the existing locations in St Albans and the surrounding area, which already includes the GP-led vaccination service at Batchwood Hall and the iMed pharmacy near St Albans city station.

The GP-led Harpenden Public Halls centre run by Harpenden Trust is operating successfully.

The Alban Arena is one of 17 centres run by Hertfordshire Community NHS Trust (HCT) across Hertfordshire, Bedfordshire, Buckinghamshire and west Essex, with eight across our county. The increasing number of appointment slots will coincide with the return of those in the highest priority groups for their second vaccinations.

The HCT said that they expect vaccine supply increases from next week, and is planning for further acceleration as we head towards Easter.

People aged 56 to 59 have started to receive letters inviting them to book their vaccination, and people aged 55 and 40,000 unpaid carers have been the first to receive text alerts encouraging them to book themselves a vaccination as soon as possible.

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In some cases text messages have been used by scammers to try to collect personal details from people, get them to ring premium rate numbers or enter their banking details. The text message will be sent using the government’s secure Notify service and will show as being sent from ‘NHSvaccine’. The NHS will never ask for payment or banking details.

Like the iMed pharmacy vaccination service, appointments for the new Alban Arena site can only be booked directly by eligible people and the easiest way to do that is through the national booking service at nhs.uk/covid-vaccination.

Patients can choose a time and place that suits them, including the new Alban Arena large vaccination centre.  Anyone unable to book online can call 119 free of charge between 7am and 11pm, seven days a week.

If people cannot or would prefer not to travel to a vaccination centre or pharmacy-led site, they can choose to wait to be invited by a local GP-led service.

The successful Batchwood GP-led vaccination service will continue to offer vaccinations directly to those people registered as patients with St Albans GP practices.  GPs have been using their local knowledge, vaccinations expertise and long-standing relationships with patients to vaccinate many thousands of residents so far, including those who are particularly at risk from COVID because of a particular health need. If you are registered with a St Albans GP practice and would like to be vaccinated at the Batchwood GP-led centre, you do not need to take any action – the practice will contact you when it is your turn.

Chief executive of HCT Elliot Howard-Jones said: “Everyone at Hertfordshire Community NHS Trust, St Albans City and District Council and all our partner organisations have been working very hard in the lead up to opening this centre in the centre of St Albans. My sincere thanks go to our project team and our school age immunisation team, who are working around the clock to deliver this programme.  The Alban Arena is wheelchair accessible and well-located for those who rely on public transport, making it a convenient choice for a number of people.

“The Alban Arena is the last of 17 large vaccination centres to be opened by Hertfordshire Community NHS Trust in the east of England. This achievement is a testament to the hard work of our staff, many of whom have chosen to return to the NHS to contribute their skills and experience, as well as our partners and volunteers. I am proud that together we are able to protect thousands of people with this life-saving vaccine.”   

People should only attend for a vaccination if they have a confirmed appointment at that location. People are being asked to arrive at the time of their appointment to avoid the need to wait, and to help maintain social distancing.