Mass vaccination centre opens in Kent

Mass vaccination centre opens in Kent
Vaccination (stock image)

The former Debenhams in Folkestone is the first large-scale Covid-19 vaccination centre in the county and one of 32 that have opened in England. Others include the Black Country Living Museum in Dudley, a racecourse, a football stadium and a former Ikea store.

It comes after government figures showed more than 6.3 million people in the UK have received the first dose of the two-dose vaccine to help protect them against the coronavirus.

The vaccination centre in Folkestone, which opens tomorrow [Tuesday, January 26], will be the first of a number to open in Kent and Medway in the next few weeks, as the Covid vaccination programme ramps up across the county.

The site in Sandgate Road will operate from 8am until 8pm, seven-days-a-week.

Paul Bentley, Chief Executive of the Kent Community Health NHS Foundation Trust (KCHFT), which is running the vaccination centre, said: “This is the biggest vaccination programme the NHS has ever undertaken and we are delighted to be playing such a vital part in this rollout to the wider public.

“We are well used to delivering thousands of vaccines a year through our school and community vaccination programmes. Our staff are doing an incredible job to deliver vaccinations at the same time as continuing to be there for anyone who needs our care.

“This really is partnership work at its finest. We are supported by colleagues from across the healthcare system and thanks to our volunteers, local councils and some of our emergency services colleagues; we can now roll out the vaccine to protect the communities we care for.”

The Folkestone site will be open to members of the public who have received a letter from the NHS and been invited to book. Nobody needs to contact the NHS, as people will be invited when it is their turn.

Dr Sarah Phillips, Medical Director for KCHFT, added: “Kent and Medway has been hit hard by the highly transmissible new variant of COVID-19, so we’re delighted to be able to open our first public, large-scale vaccination centre.

“We will be starting with everyone aged 75 years and over, including the over 80s who haven’t yet received their vaccine, and letters will be sent to people living within a 45-minute drive of the site. If they cannot or do not want to travel to our vaccination centre, people can wait to be vaccinated by a local GP service.”

People who book in to a vaccine centre will receive a pre-vaccination assessment before they receive their vaccine.  Appointments are staggered to allow for social distancing and people are urged not to turn up early to avoid queues.

If anyone has already received a jab since the letter was sent out or would prefer to wait to be invited to attend a hospital or GP service, they can simply ignore it. People like care home residents who are unable to travel to vaccine centres, hospitals or GP-led sites are already being jabbed at home.

The Folkestone site is the first public vaccination centre in Kent, but others are due to open across the county in the next few weeks. For a full list of other sites already up and running, visit 

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