Elderly face 80-mile round trip for Covid jab

Some elderly people in Lancashire face an 80-mile round trip if they want their Covid jab quickly.

Thursday, 14th January 2021, 7:22 am

Letters have started going out offering vaccination at the nearest of England’s seven mass inoculation centres - in East Manchester.

And, while the NHS says patients can opt not to make the long trip, they are being told they may have to wait longer to be vaccinated if they want to stay local.

Appointments are on offer at the Etihad Tennis Centre near to Manchester City’s football stadium which is almost 40 miles from Preston and even further from the Fylde Coast or Lancaster.

The Etihad vaccination centre is an 80-mile round trip for people from Preston.

The seven centres, in London, Manchester, Birmingham, Newcastle, Bristol, Surrey and Stevenage, have been opened this week to speed up the vaccination programme which has already seen around 2.5m people inoculated nationally.

Locally the service is being ramped up on a daily basis involving GP practices and care homes. Clinical Commissioning Groups (CCGs) in Central Lancashire have issued a statement outlining the vaccination programme.

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“However, if there is a reason that you are not able to book your appointment at the nearest regional vaccination centre you can choose to wait until the local service in your area contacts you and invites you in, although you may have to wait longer for this to happen.

The tennis centre is one of seven mass vaccination hubs set up by the Government this week.

“To vaccinate as many people as possible, local GP practices are working together in their Primary Care Networks.

“Each PCN across Central Lancashire has a dedicated vaccination site where staff from across the area come together to provide the service. This may mean that you do not receive your vaccination at your local practice, but this will not affect the way patients are prioritised.”

The statement added: “Vaccinations are also taking place in care homes across the area, with teams from local practices visiting homes to vaccinate residents and staff.

“The NHS is working hard to make sure those at greatest risk are offered the vaccine first in line with the official guidance.

“We know lots of people will be eager to get protected but please don’t worry if you or your family members have not been contacted yet, you will be contacted when it is the right time for you to book your appointment.

“We would ask you to please not to contact the NHS to get an appointment until you are invited to do so.

“GP practices and other services are very busy at the moment and doing so could prevent a patient who needs help from getting through.”