New vaccination hub opens at Black Country sports academy

A new vaccination hub has opened up in the Black Country with the aim of vaccinating 1,500 people each day.

SANDWELL COPYRIGHT EXPRESS&STAR TIM THURSFIELD 03/03/21.Tipton Sports Academy becomes a covid vaccination centre..Indu Dhanjal-Nanra from Wolverhampton is given the jab..
SANDWELL COPYRIGHT EXPRESS&STAR TIM THURSFIELD 03/03/21.Tipton Sports Academy becomes a covid vaccination centre..Indu Dhanjal-Nanra from Wolverhampton is given the jab..

The makeshift hub has been set up at Tipton Sports Academy, in Tipton, Sandwell, which officially opened last week.

Work is ongoing to bring up the site to operate at full capacity.

It has a total of 18 vaccination booths, spread across three pods, which could vaccinate 1,500 people during one day if all are operational.

Tipton Sports Academy becomes a covid vaccination centre

Louise Brown, who is the clinical lead of the site, welcomed its opening and said: "It has been a real transformation of the site, turning it into an NHS site and a clinically safe environment to be able to deliver the vaccine to hundreds of people every day, seven days a week.

"We have had a huge interest from the local population to come and help work here.

Louise Brown, clinical and operational lead

"Everybody is really keen and interested to help deliver the service, from volunteers to people helping steward the public through for their appointment, and qualified nurses and pharmacists to help deliver the vaccine. It has been really positive.

"We certainly have capacity to vaccinate well over a 1,000 a day.

"The appointments are available now for people to book in so we are ready.

Marshals Jordan Marie Bowyer, Emma McDonald, Eleanor Mason and Jasmine Sakendar.

"Our plea is please do book in and come and get your vaccine if you have been invited to do so."

She added: "It is great to be a part of it. That is why we have so many staff willing to come and spend their time and be part of the effort.

"Everybody is keen to help deliver the vaccine that will not only help us get out lockdown but help people's wellbeing."

The vaccine hub is currently welcoming in people aged in their 60s. Staff are administering the Oxford vaccines at present.

Tipton Sports Academy becomes a covid vaccination centre

Overseeing the process are Faraz Ahmed, the lead pharmacist, and Michelle Dexter, the lead nurse.

Mr Ahmed, who is co-coordinating 35 pharmacists at the site, said: "I feel we are literally on the frontline of history here. It is such a big endeavour.

"When the vaccination programme came along, I felt like I had to jump at it. I couldn't say no.

"It feels like a family working here. People are literally itching to come back the shifts.

Faraz Ahmed, lead pharmacist

"We have had pharmacists who have met for the first time during the programme. Genuine friendships have come to fruition from this.

"Genuine bromances are happening and I am kind of having to allocate their lunches together."

Ms Dexter added: "It is wonderful to see all of these people going through because we all want to be out of the pandemic. I am a passionate nurse and midwife.

"We gave our first vaccine to a pregnant lady this week and I did it."

Tipton Sports Academy becomes a covid vaccination centre

Among those getting the vaccine was Indu Dhanjal-Nanra, 55, from Wolverhampton.

She was accompanied by her husband Amardeep Nanra, 60, who already had the vaccine.

Mrs Dhanjal-Nanra: "I feel really relieved. It keeps my safe and my family safe, and all the other people that I am meeting once I am back in work.

"I have got a daughter who is 11-year-old. She is a type one diabetic. It was very important to keep her safe. She cannot have the vaccine herself."

Neil Burgess from Willenhall, gets the jab from assistant practitioner Opeyemi Ajulo

Neil Burgess, 61 from Willenhall, added: "I am quite pleased.

"Although I have not had any symptoms of Covid luckily, I am glad I have got something.

"I am very happy to have it."

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