The NHS vaccination programme cranked up an extra gear or two this week, as part of the national effort to offer millions of Britons a covid-19 booster vaccine by the end of the year in a race to protect the nation against the Omicron variant.
Croydon has nine vaccination centres across the borough operating extra hours to deliver as many jabs as possible, yet only one of those centres is in the south of the borough, at St Aidan’s Church Hall in Coulsdon. There are no “walk-ins” accepted at St Aidain’s. The next most southerly vaccination centre is to be found at Edridge Road, next to the Croydon Flyover in the town centre.
Inside Croydon asked the Croydon NHS Trust about this apparent oversight in provision for a large section of the borough, but had received no response by the time of publication.
Early reports from the vaccination centres suggested long queues forming of those seeking “walk-in” appointments.
In the Centrale shopping centre, set-up for the purpose earlier this year and one of the largest emergency facilities operating in the borough, they were delivering more than 1,000 jabs per day last week, even before the Prime Minister’s weekend announcement of the acceleration in the system.
“Opening hours for vaccine centres have been extended and the number of appointments in place is being dramatically increased,” the Croydon NHS Trust announced in a press release this week.
Booster doses are now being made available to those whose second dose was more than three months ago – a reduction from the previous six-month gap. From yesterday, second doses were being made available for those aged 16 and 17.
Dr Nicola Jones, a local GP and clinical lead for the vaccination programme, said: “NHS staff are already working incredibly hard to deliver covid vaccines as swiftly as possible, but there is growing concern around the speed with which Omicron spreads
“Two doses do provide some protection, but a booster dramatically improves this, which is why we are doing everything in our power to rise to this extraordinary challenge and ensure that people receive as much protection as possible.
“Please don’t hesitate with your booking and get boosted now. The best way to get your vaccine is by booking online or by calling 119 – please do keep checking availability as we load more appointments onto the system every day.”
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