The facility opened its doors on Monday 11 January at the Manchester Tennis and Football Club at the Etihad Campus. It is one of seven large-scale vaccination sites across the country with the ability to deliver thousands of the vaccines every week as part of national vaccination programme.
The venue has been launched in addition to the already established local GP-led and hospital vaccination services.
The centres are an additional option for people, who can book an appointment at one of the seven centres through the national booking service online or over the phone. If it is not convenient for them, they can instead be jabbed at one of their local vaccination centres in the coming weeks.
Those who are most at risk of Covid-19 are being offered the vaccine first. This order of priority is based on advice from the Joint Committee on Vaccination and Immunisation.
The NHS will let people know when it is there turn to have the Covid-19 vaccine. It’s important not to contact the NHS for a vaccination before receiving a letter.
Amongst the first people to visit the Greater Manchester NHS Vaccination Centre were Olive Wadsworth from Droylsden and Brian Lee from Stockport.
Describing her experience at the centre and why the vaccine is so important, eighty-year-old Olive said: “It’s been great to come here today. The staff have all been absolutely wonderful. Very polite, very interested in you as a person. And I would recommend anybody to come and have their vaccination.
“At last, we can start to think about light at the end of tunnel. We’ve not been able to see family. We’ve got a new great grandchild we’ve only seen a couple of times and who is now a year old. Maybe later on this year, if all goes well, we’ll be able to do the things we took for granted before.”
Brain, 82, echoed the sentiment, and said: “We’ve been very impressed. There are so many people helping you. From parking the car onwards, we’ve just been guided through the whole operation. You can’t go wrong.
“It’s been an excellent experience. I’ve enjoyed it – and you can’t often say that about medical things, can you?”
The mobilisation of the centre is a collaboration between a number of organisations, involving Manchester City Council, Manchester City Football Club, the Ministry of Defence, volunteers from St John’s Ambulance and the Royal Voluntary Service, and a number of NHS organisations including the Northern Care Alliance NHS Group (which runs Salford Royal) as the lead NHS provider responsible for the running of the centre, alongside Tameside and Glossop Integrated Care NHS Foundation Trust which is responsible for the recruitment and staffing of the centre.
The centre is part of the Greater Manchester wide vaccination programme run by the Greater Manchester Health and Social Care Partnership.
Christine Khiroya, Greater Manchester nurse consultant with lead responsibility for screening and immunisation, said:
“Some of the most vulnerable members of our communities have already received their first Covid-19 vaccine to help protect them from the virus. Over the coming weeks as more national vaccine supplies become available, we’re rapidly expanding our vaccination programme to reach more people as nationally prioritised. Greater Manchester’s large-scale vaccination centre at Manchester City Etihad Campus will help us to do this, alongside GP and hospital services. This is a significant step forward in the fight against Covid-19.”
The vaccination centre is staffed by clinicians and a range of qualified volunteers. The team includes a combination of NHS staff, as well as people who have returned to their profession to support the vaccination programme.