Six new vaccination centres open in Essex and Suffolk in latest NHS drive to accelerate jabs

February 1, 2021

Life-saving covid vaccinations will be delivered at Chelmsford City Racecourse, Colchester United Football Club and a leading performing arts venue this week when six new vaccination centres open across Essex and Suffolk.

The new centres are among a series opening nationally this week  as the NHS rapidly accelerates the number of sites it can give the crucial first dose of the vaccine. They include the Cliffs Pavilion in Southend-on-Sea, the largest purpose-built arts venue in Essex.

Councillor Trevor Harp, Cabinet Member for Health at Southend-on-Sea Borough Council, said: “We are really pleased that the Cliffs Pavilion, an iconic Southend venue, is being used to help support our NHS in the largest vaccination drive in history. I’m sure our local community are going to be relieved to have an additional vaccination centre on our doorstep, but I would remind people to only attend if they have an appointment.”

Fraser Garrity, Manager of Chelmsford City Racecourse, said: “We’re so pleased to be able to play a small part in helping the NHS carry out this vital function for the local community.  Our facilities have hosted a wide range of big conferences and events since we opened in 2015, but this is the most important task they will ever be used for.”

Tim Waddington, Colchester United General Manager, said: “At the very start of the pandemic we offered the stadium as a venue for whatever it could be used for by the NHS. We have supported the NHS by hosting training programmes and COVID-19 testing – we’re delighted to now see vaccinations starting here.”

Each of the centres can vaccinate hundreds of people a day and thousands of people each week – enabling the programme to expand as more vaccine supplies become available.

People in the top four priority groups including people aged 70 years old and over, and those who are clinically extremely vulnerable, are being invited to book an appointment at the vaccination centres through the national booking service.

The centres will also be vaccinating health and care staff who are being urged to get their first dose as soon as possible to protect themselves and others.

The six new large-scale vaccination centres planned to go live over the coming week:

• Chelmsford City Racecourse (from Monday 1 February)
• Colchester United Jobserve Community Stadium (from Tuesday 2 February)
• The Cliffs Pavilion, Southend-on-Sea (from Thursday 4 February)
• Chevington Close, Bury St Edmunds (from Thursday 4 February)
• Clacton Hospital (from Sunday 7 February)
• Alastair Farquharson Centre, Thurrock Community Hospital (from Sunday 7 February)

It brings the total number of large vaccination centres in Essex and Suffolk to nine following the opening of The Lodge in Runwell in Wickford, Gainsborough Sports Centre and Harlow Leisurezone.

They are among more than 1,400 vaccination sites nationally and offer an additional option to hospital hubs, GP and pharmacy-led vaccination services already offering coronavirus vaccinations across the region.

Nigel Leonard, Executive Director of Strategy and Transformation at Essex Partnership University NHS Foundation Trust (EPUT), which is coordinating the large vaccination centres across Mid and South Essex and Suffolk and North East Essex, said: “The opening of these centres will have a huge impact on our ability to accelerate vaccinations to the people of Essex and Suffolk and protect those most at risk as quickly as possible.

“I would like to thank my NHS colleagues, partners and everyone involved for their incredible work and dedication to enable these centres to open as quickly as possible.”

The NHS is urging people only to come to a vaccination centre when invited to do so, to help ensure that priority groups are served first and to maintain safe social distancing at every venue. Please arrive no more than five minutes before your appointment.

NHS staff are also visiting those who are housebound and unable to travel to their local service or vaccination centre.