By Local Democracy Reporter Katie May Nelson
A large-scale vaccination centre is set to open in the county next week.
Plans for the site are still waiting to be signed off by the Kent and Medway NHS Clinical Commissioning Group (CCG) and its exact location is yet to be revealed.
UPDATED: Folkestone MP Damian Collins confirms the mass site will be in Folkestone
Brilliant news just in from the @HouseofCommons: next week a new mass #COVID vaccination centre will open in #Folkestone, adding to the brilliant work of GPs, nurses & volunteers at the Civic Centre, Hythe Oaklands surgery and Lydd Airport- thank you @MattHancock @DHSCGovUK ⏯️ pic.twitter.com/vqEeZMUEhA
— Damian Collins (@DamianCollins) January 21, 2021
The CCG’s director of nursing and quality, Gail Locock, has pledged “no one will be left behind” as it prepares to open the centre on Monday, January 25.
She addressed a virtual meeting of the CCG’s Primary Care Commissioning Committee today (Thursday, January 21) and said she hoped more details about the plans could be made public by the end of this week.
The CCG, which plans NHS services in the county, is also looking to open at least two extra large-scale centres to roll out the vaccine to more people in the coming months.
As of this week, the CCG had set up vaccination centres in all of its 42 planning areas, and is working towards the national directive of vaccinating the top four priority groups by Monday, February 15.
For Kent and Medway, this means “ambitious plans” to protect a total of 410,869 people.
As well as looking into getting all health and care staff vaccinated, Ms Locock told the committee the CCG was “leaving no stone unturned” in trying to identify frontline health and social care providers who aren’t employed by the NHS.
This involves approaching different groups including dentists, opticians, funeral directors, domiciliary care providers and volunteer groups.
Ms Locock also said the CCG expected supplies of vaccines to increase over time and had so far seen stock being “a little bit patchy” in some areas.
The CCG has been working towards establishing vaccination centres within 10 miles of everyone living in the county, however, Ms Locock said: “Some of our areas have not been able to achieve that so we are looking at other strategies.”
Ways of working around this are being planned and include setting up an outreach programme and schemes to get those administering the vaccine to drive to people’s homes.
Addressing the delay some people in county may be experiencing in being approached for a vaccine, Ms Locock said: “Some people may think they’re being left behind in their areas but no one will be left behind.
“We are making sure that there is coverage but I think it’s about understanding the phased approach that there is to this programme.
“It was never going to be possible to stand up all our nearly 50 sites from day one; it needed to be done in a phased approach so that we can ensure our delivery programme was robust, that workforce was employed and that we can do it in a safe manner.”