A combination of large-scale vaccination sites, GP practices and local pharmacies have come together over six months to deliver more than 913,000 doses of the vaccine so far.
Now, some sites have stopped offering first doses and will move out of the vaccination programme after giving their final second dose jabs later this year. These will be replaced with new locations at community pharmacies and more capacity at existing sites.
This second phase is part of the plan to enable the NHS to begin restoring services to pre-Covid levels while keeping vaccination capacity the same.
The Black Country Living Museum – the area’s first large vaccination centre – will continue to offer second doses to all those who received their first dose at the site but is no longer offering first doses.
Some GP sites have taken the same decision so that they can reopen other key services. To balance this, more local pharmacies will begin offering the jab, and details of these will be available on the national NHS booking service so people can find their nearest location when booking their vaccination appointment.
Sally Roberts, chief nursing officer for Black Country and West Birmingham Clinical Commissioning Group and senior responsible officer for the vaccination programme, said: “I want to say a huge thank you to all those working and volunteering at our vaccination sites for making it possible for us to protect so many people in our region in such an incredibly short space of time – with 90 per cent of people aged 45 and over now having had their first dose.
“Now that we are moving toward younger patient groups, it makes sense that GP practices should – where possible – return their focus to providing GP services while our large vaccination sites and local pharmacies retain the capacity to keep vaccinating.
“The impact of the vaccination programme and the Covid-safe measures we have all been following means the Black Country Living Museum can look forward to opening its doors to the public again. The importance of the museum’s role as our very first, accessible and highly visible large vaccination site, can’t be overstated. I want to thank them for their support and wish them the very best with their reopening.”
In the early weeks of the museum’s reopening, second dose clinics will run alongside the site’s normal work.
Andrew Lovett, BCLM chief executive, said: “We’re incredibly proud to have played our part in supporting the NHS to inoculate our local community against Covid by hosting the vaccination centre at BCLM. Like many others in the area, I received my first vaccination at the museum and I’m delighted we’ve had the opportunity to support take-up of the vaccine.
“As a museum, we commemorate and celebrate the stories of people who have made history. Therefore, I’d like to extend my thanks to all NHS staff, volunteers, and BCLM colleagues who’ve worked so hard to make the vaccination centre a success. Everyone involved has truly helped to make history in their efforts to protect the health of our community.”
The largest local vaccination centres at Tipton Sports Academy, Walsall’s Saddlers Centre and Aldersley Leisure Village will all continue to run throughout phase two. For anyone unable to travel, a number of local pharmacies will offer a way for people to get the jab on their doorstep if they choose and details of these will be available at the point of booking an appointment online.
For those who still prefer to be vaccinated by a local GP, the following primary care sites will continue offering vaccinations: Kingswinford Community Centre, Northway Medical Practice, Dudley, Revival Fires Church, Dudley, Bloxwich Active Living Centre, Darlaston Health Centre, Walsall, Forrester Street Surgery, Walsall, Oak Park Leisure Centre, Walsall, Brasshouse Community Centre, Sandwell, Alfred Squire Road Health Centre, Wolverhampton, Keats Grove Surgery, Wolverhampton, Mayfield Medical Practice, Wolverhampton, Whitmore Reans Health Centre, Wolverhampton, Woodcross Medical Centre, Wolverhampton and Wood Road Surgery, Wolverhampton.