Exmouth Tennis and Fitness Centre and Seaton Community Hospital are the first East Devon locations where the coronavirus vaccine will be given to local people.
Doctors are beginning the roll-out in eight places around Devon – serving some 49 GP practices – from today (Tuesday, December 15).
Nurses, paramedics, pharmacists and other NHS staff will be helping to vaccinate people aged over 80 and care home workers who have been identified as ‘priority groups’.
More centres will open in phases over coming weeks.
The LED-run sports hub in Withycombe Village Road, Exmouth, will see patients from ten local practices vaccinated from today.
Specially-adapted clinical facilities have been positioned on one of the indoor courts.
Play continues on the courts not being used.
Residents are being reminded they should not contact their GP practice or hospital to ask about an appointment and have been told: “The NHS will contact you when it’s your turn.”
The eight locations in Devon’s ‘first wave’ of local vaccination centres are:
- Abbey Surgery, Tavistock;
- Exmouth Tennis and Fitness Centre;
- Limes Surgery, Exminster;
- Okehampton Medical Centre;
- Riviera International Centre, Torquay;
- St Boniface House, near Buckfastleigh;
- Seaton Community Hospital;
- The Staddy function centre, Plymouth.
Dr Barry Coakley, a GP and clinical director of Woodbury, Exmouth and Budleigh (WEB) Primary Care Network, is among those leading the set-up of the centre.
He said: “We feel honoured to play our part in this wonderful national Covid vaccination programme.
“As soon as the opportunity arose, the teams from all ten practices have come together, working with great skill and efficiency, seizing the moment to ensure that these lifesaving vaccinations are delivered to our communities.
“We would like to thank all those who have been waiting patiently to be contacted for their invitation.
“We are working through our patient lists in order, as set out in the national guidance, and will make contact with everyone who is eligible in due course.”
More local vaccination centres run by family doctors will open in coming weeks across the county as the roll-out of the greatest vaccination programme in NHS history expands out of hospital hubs.
Darryn Allcorn, Devon’s lead chief nurse, said: “We’re working seven days a week to make sure eligible people in Devon a vital vaccine as soon as possible.
“As a nurse I am proud to be part of this huge national effort to protect our patients against the virus and I would urge people in Devon to come forward when they are called up for the vaccine.
“I can reassure everyone that the NHS will be in touch with you when it’s your turn to have the vaccine. Contacting your local hospital or practice only slows us down as it takes up precious time and resources to respond to the calls.”
The local vaccination sites are using the Pfizer/BioNTech vaccine, building on the work of the scores of hospital hubs which have already started vaccinating.