New large-scale COVID-19 vaccination centre opens in Welwyn Garden City
Hertfordshire residents aged 70 and over are amongst those being invited to book a COVID-19 vaccination at a new large-scale vaccination centre in Welwyn Garden City which opened today (Thursday 4 February).
The centre, at the Roche Pharmaceuticals building on Shire Park, is being run by local NHS organisation Hertfordshire Community NHS Trust (HCT), drawing on its track record of delivering local immunisation programmes in the area.
HCT set the centre up with the support of East and North Hertfordshire Clinical Commissioning Group, Hertfordshire County Council, Hertfordshire Fire and Rescue, Roche Products Limited and local volunteers.
Local health boss Dr Jane Halpin, the Chief Executive of our area’s three Clinical Commissioning Groups said: “The opening of this new site provides another option for people who are eligible to receive their COVID-19 vaccination. We now have five community pharmacies vaccinating people in our area, as well as dozens of GP-led vaccination centres serving their patients and a number of other large vaccination sites. Our hospital and community trusts have been protecting staff and the public across Hertfordshire and west Essex through vaccination programmes too.
“We are in a strong position to protect even more people quickly, including those front-line social care and health staff who are supporting the most vulnerable in our communities every day.
“If you would prefer your own GP surgery to arrange a vaccination appointment for you, you don’t need to take any action, just wait to be contacted by your practice when it’s your turn. This applies to housebound people and those who are classed as ‘clinically extremely vulnerable’ too. Your GP is aware of your medical needs and you will be prioritised for protection.”
Health and social care staff working in Hertfordshire will also be able to have their vaccination at the new Roche site. Richard Erwin, General Manager of Roche Products Limited, which has operated in Welwyn for over 80 years and employs 1,500 people from the surrounding area said: "We are proud to have been able to play a small part in the national vaccination effort. We hope that by handing over our facilities, people living nearby will have another convenient place to receive their vaccination and we can take one step closer to protecting many more people from COVID-19."
Nigel and Rosemary (pictured) from Letty Green just outside Welwyn Garden City were the first people in line to be vaccinated this morning. The couple have been married for 50 years and had their vaccinations sitting side-by-side. “We are very happy to be getting our vaccinations – we have only really been going out to medical appointments so it’s good to be here today.”
Kamala from Welwyn Garden City was also looking forward to getting her vaccination and had no hesitation in recommending the vaccine to others.
HCT’s Chief Executive, Elliot Howard-Jones, said: “Everyone at HCT and in our partner organisations has been working very hard in the lead up to opening this centre this week.
“We can now welcome local people in the prioritised age groups with confirmed appointments to receive their vaccine, along with health and social care workers from across our area. 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 are working around the clock to deliver this programme.”
People should only attend for a vaccination at an NHS vaccination centre if they have received a letter inviting them to book a vaccination and have already booked an appointment. Anyone attending for a vaccine appointment is asked to arrive at the time of their appointment to avoid the need to wait to be seen, and to help maintain social distancing at the vaccination centre.