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New NHS vaccination services set to open in South Cumbria

31 January 2021

New vaccination centres at Kendal’s Westmorland Shopping Centre and Ulverston’s GSK Sports Centre are set to go live this week.

Thousands of people aged 70 and over and those who are clinically extremely vulnerable will be invited to book a coronavirus vaccination at these new NHS vaccination services, in addition to the centre in Lancaster.

People who are eligible, live within 45 minutes’ drive from the vaccination sites and who have not already been vaccinated by their local GP-led service or hospital hub, will receive letters from the NHS Covid-19 Vaccination Booking Service, explaining how they can book their appointment.

Westmorland Shopping Centre and Ulverston’s GSK Sports Centre are among a number of sites opening across Lancashire and South Cumbria in the coming weeks and offer a convenient alternative to GP and hospital services.

The NHS is rolling out additional services quickly, but it remains important that the public don’t try to book or go to these services before they receive their booking letter.

People who book into the vaccination centres will be greeted by volunteers, who will marshal car parks and register them when they arrive. These services are safe and strict social distancing measures have been put in place. People will receive a health status check and a pre-vaccination assessment before they have their jab and the whole service will be led and overseen by trained nurses.

Dr Sarah Hauxwell, Clinical Director for University of Morecambe Bay Hospitals NHS Trust, said: “We are grateful for the co-operation of everyone in making these venues available to use as vaccination centres. I would personally like to thank the whole team for their enormous and outstanding contribution in getting them up and running so quickly. It is absolutely instrumental in our fight against this virus and the devastating effects Covid is having in our community.”

Jane Scattergood, Covid-19 Vaccination Director for Lancashire and South Cumbria Integrated Care System, said: “As the expansion of the Covid-19 vaccination programme continues to gather pace, we are delighted that Kendal’s Westmorland Shopping Centre and Ulverston’s GSK Sports Centre will both also be used as vaccination centres, increasing availability of more local options. GPs, nurses, pharmacists, staff from across partners and volunteers have worked incredibly hard behind the scenes to get the sites ready as part of the roll-out of Covid-19 vaccinations.

“We are planning for more vaccination centres to go live in South Cumbria and Lancashire over the coming weeks. We are asking the public to support the NHS by not contacting your GP about your vaccination, we will invite you when it is your time.

“The rollout of the vaccine and establishing these sites involves a wide range of organisations working together. We are hugely grateful for the significant support given to the NHS to help deliver the Covid-19 vaccination programme from our wider Morecambe Bay partners including Cumbria County Council, Lancashire County Council, our district councils, the military, police, local businesses and many more.”

Phil Wilson, Site Director, GSK Ulverston, said: “We are incredibly proud to be partnering with the NHS to help support the roll out of the Covid-19 vaccination programme in the South Lakes area. Our aim is to ensure vaccines are given to members of our community, starting with those most vulnerable, to help alleviate as much pressure as possible from our incredible health service. A big thank you to the amazing team at GSK, our former employees who are volunteering at the centre, our sports club and our local community for making this happen.”

People driving into Kendal to get their coronavirus vaccination at Westmorland Shopping Centre will be able to park for free on the Westmorland Shopping Centre car park. South Lakeland District Council has agreed to make free parking available to people attending the NHS facility. Anyone wanting to use the multi-storey car park in the shopping centre while getting their vaccination will be able to leave their vehicle in the car park and get a ticket for free parking from NHS staff when they arrive at the centre. This ticket can be presented at the barrier on exiting the car park. Those attending the GSK Sports Centre in Ulveston can park for free on the centre car park.

Councillor Philip Dixon, South Lakeland District Council’s portfolio holder for customer and commercial services, said: “We want to help make sure as many people as possible are able to easily attend the new vaccination centre when it opens in Kendal.

“This is something we can do to support people attending the new vaccination centre in the shopping centre and support the NHS in this critical work.’’

Invitations to attend the new centre are being issued to people aged 70 or over or those clinically extremely vulnerable who are not listed as having been vaccinated at a hospital or GP service. If they have received a jab since the letter was sent they can simply ignore it. Care home residents who are unable to travel to vaccine centres, hospitals or GP-led sites are already receiving the vaccine at home from their GP.

Please don’t delay having your vaccine, but if you can’t travel to a vaccination centre or you would rather wait for an appointment closer to home, you can choose to do that, and your local GP-led service will be in touch soon to offer an alternative.

If you receive a letter from the national NHS Covid-19 Vaccination Booking Service and you book an appointment, please make sure you attend it. The sooner you get your vaccination, when eligible, the earlier you will be protected from Covid-19.

As with other vaccination services, people should wait to be invited by the NHS. It will not be possible to use the NHS Covid-19 Vaccination Booking Service if you have not received an invitation letter. It will also not be possible to get a vaccine at a vaccination centre or community pharmacy without an appointment. Doing so risks disrupting the work of NHS staff in protecting those at highest risk.

For more information about the Covid-19 vaccination programme in Lancashire and South Cumbria, including how to get involved, visit our Covid Vaccination website.