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King’s Lynn theatre ‘set for new role as mass vaccination hub’

todayJanuary 29, 2021 30

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It’s been a beacon of joy and fun for generations and now Lynn’s biggest entertainment venue is set to join the fight against coronavirus.

Plans are being developed to open West Norfolk’s first mass vaccination centre at the town’s Corn Exchange.

Health chiefs have yet to confirm the move, though the Lynn News understands a formal announcement could be made within days.

vaccine (44061920)
vaccine (44061920)

And local political leaders have welcomed the prospect of expanded provision, saying the area will be “well served” with vaccination coverage.

The developments follow concerns in recent days that there was insufficient provision of the Covid vaccines in our area and a political row over moves to divert vaccine supplies from parts of the north of England to other regions where progress has been slower.

In Norfolk, health bosses say they expect to have offered a first dose to all over-80s by this weekend and more than 95 per cent of care home staff and residents have been given their initial jab too.

The King's Lynn Corn Exchange on the Tuesday Market Place.. (41724121)
The King’s Lynn Corn Exchange on the Tuesday Market Place.. (41724121)

The roll-out of mass vaccination sites here is being led by the Cambridgeshire Community Services NHS Trust, which opened its latest facilities in Peterborough and Cambridge this week.

The trust yesterday said it was unable to comment on plans for a similar site in West Norfolk at this stage, though regional health officials have acknowledged that more sites will be rolled out in the weeks ahead.

But senior politicians here are welcoming the prospect of expanded provision here, which it is thought could begin immunising patients in the early part of February.

North West Norfolk MP James Wild said yesterday: “NHS staff and volunteers across West Norfolk have done a brilliant job in delivering thousands of lifesaving vaccines to the most vulnerable groups at QEH and GP practices.

“I am pleased to have worked with the NHS and borough council to get this new large site in Lynn that will enable easier access and mean more people can have their vaccine.”

Stuart Dark, West Norfolk Council cabinet member for environmental services and public protection, added: “We are really pleased that a large-scale vaccination centre is going to open in King’s Lynn.

“Together with the already-announced centre in Downham Market and the QEH Hub and four GP Surgery led centres that are already up and running, West Norfolk will be well-served which is good news for our communities.

“We have been working proactively with the NHS and CCG to ensure they can roll out the vaccination programme in this area and will continue to help them in any way we can.”

The development of a mass centre follows the announcement earlier this week that a new vaccination site is set to begin operating in Downham.

At present, GP surgeries in Lynn, Swaffham, Fakenham, Snettisham and Terrington St John are offering vaccines, while hundreds of people a day have also been receiving jabs at Lynn’s Queen Elizabeth Hospital.

Melanie Craig , Chief Executive of the NHS Norfolk & Waveney Clinical Commissioning Group, said: “The rapid rollout of our Covid-19 vaccination programme continues and we now have 26 sites across Norfolk and Waveney offering the vaccine: three hospital hubs, 21 PCN sites, one large vaccination centre and 95 per cent of care homes for the over 65s in Norfolk and Waveney/North Suffolk.

“Risk assessments have been completed for homes that haven’t been visited due to an outbreak of COVID-19 and for the small number of cases where residents or staff were not able to be vaccinated at the point in time the team attended, or due to safety restrictions, mobile roving teams will return to vaccinate them at the earliest possible opportunity.”

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