Staff and volunteers at the vaccination centre in Barnstaple are pulling out all the stops to make sure no-one misses out on getting protected from the Omicron COVID-19 variant.
Today, the team from Northern Devon Healthcare NHS Trust (NDHT) delivered their 100,000th vaccination. This almost marks a year since the team first started vaccinating at the hospital hub at North Devon District Hospital.
The vaccination team at the North Devon Leisure Centre have extended opening times and are now delivering four times as many vaccinations as they did in October. They are currently vaccinating around 2,500 people per day, and this is set to increase even further.
On top of this, a free park and ride coach service is being set up and will be available from tomorrow (Saturday 18 December). It is important that people use this wherever possible to help reduce traffic in the area, prioritise closer parking for those with mobility difficulties, and ensure Northern Devon can keep on moving whilst getting vaccinated too.
By coming forward for vaccination in droves, people in North Devon and the surrounding areas are giving themselves the best possible protection against the Omicron COVID-19 variant.
Scientists are very worried about the arrival of the Omicron variant because of the speed with which it spreads and because two vaccine doses do not give us the protection we all need. Thankfully a booster jab can restore protection to around 75%.
Andrea Bell, Deputy Director of Nursing and Mass Vaccination Lead, said: “Our mission is to give our community the best possible protection from COVID-19, and as soon as possible. Please get your booster as soon as you’re eligible. If you haven’t had a first or second dose yet, or third primary dose if you are eligible, please do come forward too.
“We are continuing to ramp up our capacity at the North Devon Leisure Centre and North Devon District Hospital. We are doing our best to manage queues whilst we work on this, please bear with us.
“Thank you to all our staff and volunteers, who are putting in incredible hours to ensure our community get protected. Today, we have had support from Armed Forces personnel, which we are incredibly grateful for. We’d really welcome any support from our community to help out in the centre – in either a clinical or non-clinical role, or as a volunteer.”
The NHS is working hard to offer everyone aged 18 and above, who is three months or more since their second dose, a booster by the end of the year. People must wait 28 days after a positive COVID-19 PCR test before having the booster.
The NDHT team are also working hard to offer vaccination to younger age groups and are running clinics for 12-15 year olds.
The free park and ride coach service is specifically for the vaccination centre and is based at the former park and ride facility by Park School in Barnstaple. Full details of the park and ride facility are available here.
Please note that due to coaches being used this service will not be suitable for those with mobility difficulties. There is a parking area next to the vaccination centre – North Devon Council Seven Brethren short stay car park, charges apply.
People can also access the vaccination through pharmacies and outreach clinics across Northern Devon.
GP practice staff are supporting the effort by taking vaccines direct to housebound people, care home residents and care home staff, whilst clinically prioritising other services they deliver. Cancer checks will continue to be prioritised. People who are concerned about symptoms which could be cancer should continue to contact their GP.
How to get your vaccine at the North Devon Leisure Centre
To book an appointment visit nhs.uk/covidvaccine or call 119.
Please see our website and social media for details of the latest walk-in clinics at the North Devon Leisure Centre.
Please do come prepared to queue. We are running separate queues for booked appointments and walk-ins. As capacity increases further, we hope that queuing times will be shorter.
Can you help our team?
Legislation allows a wider group of staff to undertake training to deliver vaccines. This includes many allied health professionals, healthcare scientists and dental staff, as well as other individuals with appropriate first aid training, who are able to undertake additional comprehensive training; so opportunities for flexible, paid roles are open to a huge variety of people.
If you can help in a clinical role, please email firstname.lastname@example.org
The Trust is also looking for volunteers to help in the car parks, make people feel welcome, register them and deal with certain administrative tasks. If you can help, please email your telephone number to the volunteer team – email@example.com. The team will call you back.