Newark MP Robert Jenrick calls on Nottingham and Nottinghamshire CCG to re-open vaccination centre at showground amid rise in covid infections and omicron
The vaccination centre at Newark Showground should be re-opened to help deliver the ambitious covid booster roll-out, says Robert Jenrick.
The Newark and Bingham MP said re-opening the showground site — even just for a few months — would help to ensure Nottinghamshire had the infrastructure to deliver to fierce jab roll-out announced by the Prime Minister on Sunday.
It follows what Boris Johnson called a tidal wave of new coronavirus infections and the emergence of the omicron virus, said to have a doubling time of two to three days — far worse than the dominant delta strain.
Mr Jenrick has further called on the Nottingham and Nottinghamshire CCG to provide an urgent plan as to how it aims to treble the number of boosters delivered within days.
"Attempting to book a booster today, Boots in Newark has few if any appointments before January," said Mr Jenrick.
"And many people are being forced to go to Grantham and other far-afield venues.
"The present infrastructure isn’t going to meet the mission set by the Prime Minister on Sunday.
"I am calling on the CCG to consider urgently re-opening the Newark Showground site, even if only for a few months, as it was an efficient and popular venue and crucially had the scale required for the booster challenge.
"I think a big venue in Newark is needed as the present ones are too small even if the 15-minute wait [after the jab] is scrapped."
The Advertiser understands the showground has been approached by Nottingham and Nottinghamshire CCG, with a view to re-starting a vaccine site.
Amanda Sullivan, accountable officer at NHS Nottingham and Nottinghamshire CCG, said: "The NHS is working exceptionally hard to accelerate the booster programme to offer protection to as many people as quickly as possible.
"Locally, we are establishing a number of ways we can quickly step up the volumes of jabs given to the public. These will include increasing capacity at our sites, offering extended opening hours, standing up more vaccination sites, working to increase our vaccinator workforce, accepting the national support on offer which includes the military and supporting our GPs and community pharmacies to be able to offer the lifesaving jabs to as many people as possible.
"I want to be clear that our NHS workforce will be working very hard to vaccinate as many people as possible and I am grateful for the support across the local system in helping us to achieve this."
Mrs Sullivan added the local NHS was prioritising bookings for boosters and urged eligible people to book a slot to guarantee their jab. You can do this on the NHS website or by calling 119.
She said although booking systems were very busy at the moment, people should keep checking for more availability.
If people are willing to travel, she added there were plenty of appointments available at the Mansfield Vaccination Centre and King’s Mill Hospital.
Prime Minister Boris Johnson delivered a televised message to households across the country on Sunday following the rise in coronavirus cases and the omicron variant situation.
That came soon after he enacted the government's Plan B — mandatory facemasks in most indoor settings, excluding restaurants and bars, with covid passports required for certain events.
He said everyone over the age of 18 would now be offered a covid booster jab by the end of December, provided three months have passed since their last jab, to help protect people from a fresh wave of infections.
Answering questions at a vaccine centre on Monday, the Prime Minister refused to rule out whether more covid restrictions would be on the way ahead of Christmas.
MPs are to vote on Plan B covid restrictions tonight at 6.30pm, with a significant Tory rebellion expected.