'No immediate plans' to close region's flagship Covid vaccination sites

There are no immediate plans to close any of the region's flagship Covid vaccination sites, health bosses say.

Health chiefs in Birmingham and the Black Country say they are "keeping an eye on capacity and demand" and have confirmed that sites will stay open in the immediate future.

However, they say there may be changes to operations at some sites at a later date.

It comes as some mass vaccination centres in other parts of the UK are being wound down.

Latest NHS England figures show 2.43 million Covid vaccines had been given to patients in the Black Country and West Birmingham by the end of last Sunday.

Sally Roberts, chief nursing officer for Black Country and West Birmingham Clinical Commissioning Group, said huge efforts had been made across the region over the past year to ensure as many people as possible could get vaccinated.

“It remains crucial that we offer a range of sites for vaccination and there are no immediate plans to close any of our flagship vaccination sites," she said.

"However, as the vaccination programme progresses we will continue to keep an eye on capacity and demand which means some sites may change at a later date.

“It’s important to remember that Covid-19 hasn’t gone away and we still have lots of vulnerable people in our communities.

"The vaccine remains our best protection against the virus, so whether you are due a first, second or booster dose, please come forward as soon as possible.”

‘Jab Cabs’ – free taxi services – are also taking people to vaccine appointments in Birmingham, where take-up has been lower than in some other areas.

The NHS has delivered more than 114 million doses of the Covid vaccine across England, including almost 31 million vital boosters.

GP and deputy lead for the NHS Covid vaccination programme, Dr Nikki Kanani, said: “Our NHS staff and fantastic volunteers have worked hard to deliver the largest and fastest vaccine drive in NHS history which is operating from around 3,000 site across the country.

“We want to make sure everyone has the opportunity to get their jab so we’re going into the homes of those who are housebound, care homes, and putting on these incredible transport offers in tandem with local authorities, volunteer organisations and of course the taxi and bus providers themselves.

“If anyone has not yet had their booster, or either of their first two doses, then please do come forward.

“The evidence is clear that having two vaccinations does not give you enough protection from the Omicron strain so get boosted now.”

The NHS boosted capacity to expand the vaccine drive before Christmas by extending opening hours in every community and getting local GP teams to clinically prioritise services to free up capacity, as well as inviting around 700,000 people to move forward their appointment from six months to three months.

For more details on where vaccinations sites are in the region, along with information on how to book, visit blackcountryandwestbirmccg.nhs.uk/your-health-services/health-advice/covid-19-vaccination

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