Community vaccination begins at scale as new sites set to open

The first of six new vaccination centres in Manchester will open on Saturday as the city’s immunisation programme begins in earnest.

Across Manchester locations are being prepared to administer the Covid-19 jab to close to half a million people who live in the city.

Since the start of Manchester’s community vaccination programme in mid-December more than 6,000 people have been immunised against Covid-19.

This group includes care home residents and staff, over 80s and NHS staff who were at a higher risk.

Over the next week a further six locations across the city will begin the delivery of the Covid-19 vaccine, alongside the already operational Woodhouse Park Active Lifestyle Centre, in Wythenshawe.

Tomorrow (Saturday, 9 January) the next location, Newton Heath Health Centre, will open, to begin vaccinating residents in North Manchester.

The other five locations will open throughout next week.

Work will now begin in earnest to vaccinate hundreds of thousands of the city’s residents.

This is a huge undertaking and represents one of the biggest public health operations in Manchester’s history.

Vaccinations are also being carried out separately at care homes and hospitals in Manchester, as well as the mass vaccination site for Greater Manchester which will soon open at the Etihad Stadium Tennis Centre.

All 85 GP practices in Manchester have signed up to support the delivery of the vaccine. Their participation will support the fastest possible rollout of the vaccination programme.

Local GPs will be contacting patients about getting a vaccination in the order set out at a national level – with the most vulnerable first. You do not need to contact them.

They will arrange a time slot for you, and if transport is an issue they may be able to help get a person from their home to the vaccination site.

You may also receive a letter from the NHS offering you the option of attending the Great Manchester Mass Vaccination Centre at the Etihad Tennis Centre in Manchester, or a local pharmacy.

David Regan, Manchester’s Director of Public Health, said: “We are about to embark on one of the biggest and most ambitious public health initiatives ever seen in Manchester. Every single person involved in the vaccination process, from the clinicians giving it, to the drivers delivering doses to Manchester, to the volunteers who will keep vaccination sites safe has a hugely significant role to play.

“The next few months will be critical if we are to turn the tide against this virus. I would ask anyone who is notified about getting a vaccine to keep their appointment. Until then the most important things we can all keep doing is maintaining social distancing, hand washing and sticking to national health guidelines.”

Councillor Bev Craig, Executive Member for Adult Health and Wellbeing for Manchester City Council, said: “So many Mancunians have gone above and beyond since the beginning of this pandemic. We are asking for one last effort as we push to vaccinate as many residents as possible.

“The vaccination programme is the largest the city has ever seen and we are keen to see it rolled out rapidly across the city. We can all do our bit either by getting the jab or encouraging our friends and families to take it up when it’s offered.

“Vaccination will be the best tool we have if we are to return to normality and I am confident our incredible local healthcare teams rise to this new challenge and succeed.”

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